The Columbus North and Columbus East boys soccer teams both head into the Columbus North boys soccer sectional at the Wigh Soccer Complex on high notes.
North, which opens sectional play at 6 p.m. Wednesday against Seymour, comes off Friday’s terrific 1-1 match against the state’s No. 1 team, Carmel, on the road.
The No. 6 Bull Dogs were a man short for most of the game yet managed to stay even with powerhouse Carmel.
“I feel as though we’re playing good soccer,” North coach Andy Glover said. “It’s a very disciplined approach, and the boys are responding very well to what they’re being asked to do. We certainly feel good about the way things are going, but in the postseason, you have to take each match one game at a time, and that’s what we intend to do.”
North is seeking for a return trip to the state finals.
Senior Brad Shaw leads the Bull Dogs (10-1-4) offensively with seven goals and eight assists. Junior Keaton Voegerl and senior Tony Gonzalez have five goals apiece, and junior Riley Belding has four assists.
Glover has alternated junior Ben Davis and senior Chase Francoeur in goal for most of the season and is undecided if he will continue that rotation or go with one goalkeeper.
Columbus East, meanwhile, heads into the sectional on a roll, thanks mainly to its defense.
The Olympians won their past six regular-season games, allowing only one goal during that span. They also allowed just one goal in going undefeated in Hoosier Hills Conference play, capped by Saturday’s 1-0 win at Jeffersonville.
“Defense wins championships, so it’s nice to see our defense rounding into shape here at the end of the season,” East coach Brad Barber said. “We’ve created more scoring opportunities. We’re playing our best soccer at the right time.”
The Olympians defense features sophomore goalkeeper JB Baxter, junior Adam Wallace and senior Roberto Garcia at the center back positions, seniors Zack Herron and Luis Sanchez at outside back and junior defensive midfielder Alex Staggs.
Senior Mitch Tabler leads East (13-3-1) offensively with 12 goals and nine assists. Senior Colin Singer has eight goals and nine assists.
“We have to feel pretty good going into sectional, knowing how our season went so far,” Barber said. “We were able to play some good competition, some quality teams and get some pretty good wins. Getting the conference championship is a nice lead-in to the sectional.”
East will face Scottsburg at 8 p.m. Wednesday.
The Columbus schools will be heavily favored and will be expected to meet in the championship match at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Wigh Soccer Complex. It will be a rematch of the Bull Dogs’ 2-0 victory Aug. 25.
“Our focus obviously is on Scottsburg and just playing our style of soccer,” Barber said. “If we beat Scottsburg, whoever comes out of the North vs. Seymour match, we’ll be ready to play.”