LAWRENCEBURG — Columbus North didn’t manage a shot in falling behind powerhouse Guerin Catholic 2-0 at halftime in Saturday’s girls soccer semistate, but the Bull Dogs didn’t give up.
North instead went to work and managed to cut the lead to 2-1. The Bull Dogs made a couple of minor threats at tying the game, but the Golden Eagles scored a pair of late goals to post a 4-1 victory.
“I said, ‘Just keep your composure. It’s two goals. We need to come out strong. We’ll go 10 minutes, and then we’ll start making adjustments if we need to,’” North coach Derek Stewart said.
So when the Class 3A No. 13 Bull Dogs (14-4-2) didn’t threaten in early in the second half, Stewart moved Baileigh Drum to a forward position and Caroline Hollenkamp to the midfield. In the 54th minute, Drum took a lead pass from Tanner Johnson and slid it under the hands of Guerin keeper Claire Gavin.
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The goal was only the third that Guerin Catholic (16-1-1), which is ranked No. 1 in the country by MaxPreps.com, has allowed all season.
“That’s what happens when you only play 70 minutes instead of 80 or 75 instead of 80,” Guerin coach Jonathan McClure said. “Good teams are going to find those little windows and those breaks of daylight and try to make something of it, and they did on that chance.”
Johnson and Drum almost connected again in the 62nd minute, but Gavin narrowly beat Drum to the ball to preserve the lead.
Shortly after, the Golden Eagles put it away. Cassidy Lindley scored in the 70th minute, and Kelsie Smith added the final goal in the 72nd minute.
Guerin’s first half goals came from Elle Vuotto in the 25th and 31st minutes.
“We were pretty even the first 20 minutes, and then they snuck some in,” North senior defender Corrine Orben said. “But when we got our goal it was a big boost. Once we got it to 2-1, we had hope and had a couple chances, and then we just kind of broke down and from there, we just kind of lost it.”
The Golden Eagles outshot North 23-2. Drum’s score was the Bull Dogs’ lone shot on goal.
Guerin put 15 shots on goal. North keeper Liz Tynan recorded 11 saves.
“They stayed with it, didn’t give up, made it tough for us to penetrate the way that we wanted to penetrate and get looks the way and with the frequency that we wanted to get quality looks at them,” McClure said.
The Bull Dogs had advanced to the state’s final four for the first time since 2011. They were aiming for their first state title game appearance since 2010, when they beat Guerin Catholic 2-1 on penalty kicks in the semifinals before falling to South Bend St. Joseph for the championship.
North advanced to this year’s semistate after winning the Columbus East Sectional and the Bloomington North Regional. The Bull Dogs had posted four consecutive shutouts entering Saturday.
“I think all levels of our team were great — defense, midfield, offense and especially Liz in the goal,” Orben said.
Stewart said Saturday’s loss didn’t dampen a big season.
“I’m just proud of the way the girls played,” Stewart said. “They had a great season, and they played hard against a very good team. They did a fantastic job this season.”