BLOOMINGTON — A case of déjà vu may be kicking in for some of the Columbus North girls soccer players who are headed to their second consecutive semistate after winning the Bloomington South Regional final.
Saturday night’s regional final against the host Panthers was not the first for many of the Bull Dogs, but it was a first for freshman Lauryn Whitley, who scored the game’s lone goal. Whitley’s score off an assist from Kristen Orben in the eighth minute helped give North a 1-0 victory.
“It feels amazing, and I want to be on a streak of winning all four years,” Whitley said. “I think that’s a goal that we could have. A lot of the game goes towards our back line. Our defenders were so good today, and (goalkeeper) Liz Tynan was so amazing.”
Tynan had two saves on the Panthers’ two shots on goal. Kristen Morgan of Bloomington South had three saves on the Bull Dogs’ four shots on goal.
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Tynan is one of the North players who tasted a regional championship a year ago. She said going into semistate for a second time will help give the Bull Dogs an edge over other teams.
“We can just keep our calm,” Tynan said. “We’ve been there and we’ll have less nerves. I think than most teams will since they haven’t been in that position.”
North coach Derek Stewart said his team did not play to its full potential in Saturday morning’s semifinals against Floyd Central, but the Bull Dogs pulled it together against Bloomington South.
“This morning’s game, we didn’t play as well as I’d like to, but we played well the second game,” Stewart said. “We came out the first half and played an extremely good game against a very good team. I thought they played excellent, a lot more energy and they had the will to win.”
North beat the Highlanders 1-0 with a goal in the sixth minute by Tanner Johnson.
Although the Bull Dogs didn’t play their best, they were still able to prevent Floyd Central from getting any shots on goal. North had four shots on goal, and Floyd Central goalkeeper Sofia Gianfagna finished with three saves.
Stewart said the team still has a lot of work to do to prepare for its semistate match Saturday against the Zionsville Regional winner between Guerin Catholic and East Central. The semistate time and location — Lawrenceburg or Evansville North — will be determined today.
“We need to work on the little things — playing with more possessions, playing with more purpose and staying in the game until the end,” Stewart said. “It’s always nice when you’ve had players who have been there before and understand the importance of it. We obviously have some players coming back, and they want to go a little bit further this year. We’re going to see if we can do that.”