Olympians looking for another big double

Prior to the season, the IHSAA switched the boys and girls soccer regional round to an all-day Saturday event.

Previously, the regional semifinals were played on a Wednesday or Thursday and the finals on a Saturday. But this year, both the semifinals and finals will be on Saturday.

That change wasn’t lost on Columbus East boys coach Brad Barber. He took his team to a two-game setup at Jasper during the summer, and the Olympians played in two-game Saturday events at Center Grove and Mt. Vernon this season.

In those six games, East went 6-0.

“We’ve been building toward this all season,” Barber said. “We talked about it before the season started, and that’s been one of our focus areas. We’re confident our depth will show that we’re a strong team that can win two games in one Saturday.”

The Class 3A No. 19 Olympians (14-2-4) will try to do that again this week in the Seymour Regional. They’ll be seeking their second regional title and their first since 2005.

East will play No. 5 Bloomington South (18-1-1) at noon Saturday. No. 13 Castle (14-4-1) and Perry Meridian (12-6-1) will meet in the 10 a.m. opener, and the championship game will be at 7 p.m.

The Olympians led Bloomington South 2-0 last month before giving up two goals in the final 15 minutes in a 2-2 tie.

“We played a very good game against Bloomington South on their senior night at their place,” Barber said. “I know the boys were frustrated that they didn’t finish the game off and felt like they could do better playing the full 80 minutes, and they’re excited to prove that on Saturday.”

Senior forward Dustin Rodgers leads East with 15 goals, while senior forward Jayvon Thomas and senior midfielder Eli Newell add 10 and nine, respectively. Sophomore midfielder Jorge Nieto has 12 assists, while Thomas and Newell contribute 11 and 10, respectively. Sophomore goalkeeper Zach Roberts has a single-season school-record 10 shutouts.

Senior Ben Yeagley leads Bloomington South with 21 goals.

North girls seek regional

Columbus North will try for its second consecutive regional title and its 11th overall Saturday at Bloomington South.

The 3A No. 13 Bull Dogs (12-3-2) will play Floyd Central (11-3-3) in the 10 a.m. opener. No. 6 Castle (16-2-1) will play No. 20 Bloomington South (16-2-1) at around noon, and the championship game will be at 7 p.m.

This year’s regional is at Bloomington South after being at East Central for several years.

“I think we have a good team this year,” North coach Derek Stewart said. “We’re playing well, and I think we’ll do well in the regional. Castle coming into that will be a big challenge. I like the thought of going over to Bloomington and playing. It’s a little bit closer.”

Junior forward Tanner Johnson leads the Bull Dogs with 17 goals, while sophomore center midfielder Caroline Hollenkamp adds nine. Senior outside back/outside midfielder Corrine Orben and junior center back Elise Whitley each have four assists. Senior goalkeeper Liz Tynan has six shutouts.

Sophomore Kaite Yankey leads Floyd Central with 14 goals.

“We have to keep everything in perspective and play a game at a time,” Stewart said. “We’re prepared now for Floyd Central. They’re a good team. I think that if we play our game and be consistent at defense and finishing, then I think we’ll do well.”

Can North streaks continue?

The No. 21 Columbus North girls and No. 22 Jennings County boys will be favorites to win the Brown County cross-country regional Saturday at Eagle Park.

The Brown County Sectional champion North boys, which have won nine consecutive regional titles and 21 of the past 22, figure to give the Southwestern (Hanover) Sectional champion Panthers a big challenge.

“Every race we go to, we look to win or do the best we can,” North boys coach Danny Fisher said. “Jennings County has handled us pretty well twice this year, and they’ve gotten better and we’ve gotten better. We can only control what we can do between now and then, and that’s what we’re focused on. We’ll get their best on Saturday, and they’re definitely going to get our best.”

Columbus East also will be in the 10:30 a.m. boys race, along with host Brown County, which is led by individual sectional champion Wyatt Wyman.

Columbus East, Brown County and Jennings County will be in the 11:15 a.m. girls race. Jennings won the Southwestern (Hanover) Sectional; while North, led by individual winner Arig Tong, took the Brown County Sectional.

The Bull Dog girls have won eight consecutive regional titles and 19 of the past 20.

“They’re definitely doing some things really well to set themselves up for the semistate,” North girls coach Bethany Scruton said. “They’re doing a good job of keying off of each other. Before the sectional, we talked about, ‘Your best competition will be the other girls on the team, and use that for practice,’ and I think the same will be true for the regional.”

Teams set for sectional

One Columbus team is guaranteed a spot in Saturday night’s volleyball sectional finals.

That’s because East and North will play in the semifinals around 12:30 p.m. Saturday at North. The title game is at 7 p.m.

Action at North gets underway tonight with Bloomington North playing East Central and Bloomington South facing Shelbyville. Those winners will play in the first semifinal a 11 a.m. Saturday.

Class A No. 2 Hauser, which will be a heavy favorite in its own sectional, opens play around 7:30 p.m. today against Waldron. The winner will play Southwestern (Shelby) or Oldenburg Academy at 11 a.m. Saturday, followed by South Decatur against Rising Sun around 12:30 p.m. The title game will be at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Brown County will play South Vermillion at 7:30 p.m. today in the first round of the Edgewood Sectional. Edinburgh and Trinity Lutheran face off around 12:30 p.m. Saturday in the semifinals of the Edinburgh Sectional.

Duo looks to advance

Columbus North seniors Isaac Jackson and Ben Mathew will try for a regional doubles title Saturday at Bloomington North. The duo advanced with a sectional final win against a Bedford North Lawrence duo Saturday.

Jackson and Mathew will play Washington senior Kaleb Knepp and freshman Braden Kixmiller in the semifinals at 10 a.m. The winner will meet Floyd Central’s Noah Neuhauser and Alex Poe or Heritage Hills’ Josh Nelson and Jacob Luebbehusen in the regional final at 2 p.m.

The regional champion will advance to the state quarterfinals at 2 p.m. Oct. 20 at Park Tudor. The semifinals and finals are at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Oct. 21, also at Park Tudor.

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