Columbus East put two shots off the crossbar and one off the left post in the first 20 minutes of Thursday night’s sectional semifinal against Franklin.

The Olympians finally broke through in the 35th minute and then scored three times in the second half to post a 4-0 victory and advance to Saturday’s East Sectional final against Columbus North.

“It didn’t bounce our way the first half as well as I would have liked,” East coach Ilya Schwartzman said. “We had a lot of chances we could have finished, and their goalie made a couple of nice saves, but I thought we continued to stay patient, and we were continuing to do what we really intended to do and continued to create opportunities, and it paid off.”

The Olympians (10-5-2) got on the board in the 35th minute on a free kick from 25 yards by Jaeda Berkemeier. Grizzly Cubs keeper Alexandria Bedard got her hand on the shot, but it made its way into the net.

The score stayed 1-0 until halftime.

“I was aiming for the top-right corner, and I luckily hit it right where I wanted to,” Berkemeier said. “It was huge. I think it really motivated our team to score more and play harder.”

Lindsey Stoughton made it 2-0 in the 59th minute when she took a pass from Addy Galarno and put a shot through Bedard’s hands. Alana Dwenger scored off an assist from Emily Stiles in the 70th minute, and Sarah Park added the final tally a minute later off an assist from Stoughton.

East outshot Franklin 26-8, putting 14 shots on goal to 6 for the Grizzly Cubs. Jenny Bastian played the first 74 minutes in goal and recorded one save, and Erin McIntyre posted three saves over the final six minutes.

“(Saturday is) going to be a lot of fun,” Berkemeier said. “We really have worked hard over the season, and we really learned how to play with each other very well. Hopefully this time, we can have a different result in our favor.”

The Bull Dogs beat the Olympians 1-0 early in the season.

“It’s always a tough battle,” Schwartzman said. “I think we’re going to be ready. We believe we can win the championship just as well as I’m sure they believe they can. I think it’s going to be a fight and will be a great game.”

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Ted Schultz is sports editor for The Republic. He can be reached at tschultz@therepublic.com or 812-379-5628.