Columbus East played opportunistic boys soccer Thursday evening against Bloomington North, capitalizing on a pair of miscues by the visitors to garner a 2-0 victory at the Richard Wigh Soccer Complex.
The Olympians (4-1) locked horns with their guests throughout most of the first half before wearing them down in the second half to secure the win and build steam for Saturday’s showdown with Columbus North.
“This win certainly gives us momentum for the weekend,” East coach Brad Barber said. “We didn’t play 80 full minutes of good soccer, but we played smart and were able to take advantage of North’s weakness.”
Despite getting off just five shots in the first half, the Olympians found themselves in front 1-0 at intermission after an unassisted goal by Drew Herron. The senior leader battled for a rebound shot attempt and blasted in the straight-on goal in the 24th minute.
“That was a 50-50 ball for Drew, and he went after it,” Barber said. “He’s not afraid of the physical contact down inside.”
East padded the scoreboard in the second half when sophomore Tim Rix connected on a goal similar to that of Herron’s. With the ball bouncing off several players, Olympian junior Levi Copas made enough contact to send it to Rix, who quickly powered it past the Cougars’ goalkeeper.
Rix came up short on a pair of attempts moments earlier before finally hitting paydirt.
Perhaps even more impressive was the O’s defense as it relentlessly suffocated Bloomington North’s flow on offense and gave East senior goalkeeper JB Baxter plenty of breathing room. The shutdown effort was spearheaded by the likes of Nathaniel Reed, Jakob Branum, Israel Reyna, Caleb Glass and Alex Hammond, who even deflected one shot attempt with his face.
“The shutout definitely starts with the back,” Barber said. “Their play opened things up for everything else. And anytime we can come away with a win over a talented team like Bloomington North is a positive step for us moving forward.”