Dennis Dunn | For The Republic
SEYMOUR — For the third time in four postseason games, the Columbus East boys soccer team is played a team it either tied with or lost to in the regular season.
Unlike the first two, where the Class 3A No. 19 Olympians avenged regular-season losses, they fell to No. 5 Bloomington South 3-1 on Saturday in the Seymour Regional semifinals.
East (14-3-4) came into the game well rested and focused. In the first minute of the contest, East senior Dustin Rodgers, who leads the team in goals with 15 tacked on another one after the Panthers had a misplay around midfield, and he took the ball around the right side and scored just 29 seconds into the game.
Both teams had opportunities in the first half to tack on goals, but both teams fell short until Bloomington South’s Grant Yeagley kicked a shot that tipped off of East keeper Zach Roberts’ fingertips and landed in the goal for the 1-1 tie in the 34th minute.
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“We got that early goal, and I think we stopped doing what we were doing,” East coach Brad Barber said. “They had a number of scoring chances in the first half, and they capitalized on one of them.”
The teams went to intermission deadlocked at 1-1. The Olympians managed only two shots in the first half with both coming on goal.
East had a scoring threat early in the second half, but had a goal waived off for offsides in the 47th minute. Eric Stiles kicked one just over the goal, and Rodgers had a shot attempt hit the crossbar.
The Panthers took a 2-1 lead in the 57th minute when James Lundell scored off a pass from Gabe Lika. Four minutes later, Ben Yeagley added their third and final goal of the match.
“We had one offsides call that went in the goal, which was a big momentum swing, and the offside call was one I disagreed with,” Barber said. “We had one go off the crossbar. If we tucked one of those away, then it’s 2-1 and a different story. South played very well today so you have to give them a lot of credit.”
In the first half, ball movement was going good for the Olympians, but in the second half, Bloomington South reversed the tide and kept the ball on itsend of the field.
“We were looking to get that second goal and had players trying to get that,” Barber said. “They had more possessions of the ball.”
East had six shots, with four on goal; while the Panthers had 10 shots, with five on goal. Roberts finished with two saves.
The Olympians avenged their only two regular-season losses against Floyd Central and Columbus North in winning the Seymour Sectional.
“Our seniors worked very hard, and their legacy of winning two sectionals in the last three years, I am just thinking about how proud I am of the seniors,” Barber said. “They leave some big shoes to fill, but we will be ready for next year.”