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Their paths ended at the identical spot, but the course of action was quite different for the Columbus East and Columbus North soccer teams Saturday in the District Five Tournament at the Wigh Soccer Complex.
The Bull Dogs dispatched New Albany 8-0 and Jennings County 7-0 and were long gone by the time the Olympians found themselves in a 2-0, second-half hole to Mooresville.
Ilya Schwartzman’s players turned up the heat on Mooresville freshman goalkeeper Natalie Guffey during the final 10 minutes, scoring three times for a dramatic 3-2 victory. With a 2-0 win against New Castle earlier in the day, East also finished with a 2-0 record.
Some late scratches to the tournament caused North to play back-to-back morning matches and the Bull Dogs responded with dominating performances. Kenadie Carlson and Gabby Sims each scored three goals in the opener while Natalie Teo and Lauren Britt added one goal each. In the game against Jennings County, Carlson scored three goals while Addy Lang, Hannah Bailey, Haley Meek and Katie Carlson each scored once.
It was North’s first two games of the season.
“This was just a good way to get our timing and rhythm going,” said Sims, who is a senior.
“I think it went well. We lost a lot of big names (such as goalie Elizabeth James and forward Morgan Proffitt who graduated). But I think we are capable.”
Sims did say the Bull Dogs were dragging a bit in the second game.
“We really came out strong in the first game, but you could see the fatigue in the second game,” she said.
It appears Sims is going to be a big part of North’s offense. “Definitely I think I have more confidence,” she said. “And I don’t want to let people down. I think I have more skill on the ball (than last season) and I use my speed better.”
North’s defense was so good that goalkeeper Charlotte Verbanic, a freshman, only had to make one save in the two games.
Jennings County keeper Avis McGovern was not so fortunate. She made plenty of sterling saves, but North simply had too many opportunities.
“These games gave us the opportunity to see a lot of players,” said North coach Derek Stewart. “I was happy with our play all around. We came out ready to play.”
East, 3-0 on the season, was a bit sluggish in its second game Saturday, although Mooresville appeared to be a quality opponent. When Kellie Cavanaugh lifted a long shot just under the crossbar in the second half, Mooresville led 2-0.
Schwartzman moved Molly Macy to the forward position to give his team energy (due to her exceptional speed) and the strategy worked.
The Olympians got aggressive, with Rachel Amlung scoring only a minute after Cavanaugh’s goal. Guffey, who had been gambling most of the game by coming well out of the keeper’s box, was beaten to the ball by Amlung, who easily kicked it past her.
Macy then knotted the score by simply out-running Mooresville’s defense on a long pass.
East kept firing shots at Guffey with Amlung just missing a little flip shot that soared just a foot over the crossbar. Sydney Newell hit a left-footed bullet that again missed the goal a bit high.
With only four minutes remaining, Molly Connor was at the right spot when Guffey and a defender got tangled up when both went for the ball in the goal mouth. Connor poked at the ball, which slipped through Guffey’s hands just over the goal line.
“We certainly dug ourselves a hole,” Schwartzman said. “But we gutted it out.
“Mooresville has some good players and we looked slow and tired. But we showed pride and the character of our team.”
Amlung and Hayden Lang scored goals for East in the victory over New Castle.
“I think we learned a lot today both physically and mentally,” Schwartzman said. “When the temperature is high like this, it can take a toll on the kids. And with the competition we faced, I thought we had a real test.
East’s junior varsity scored a 1-0 win over Lawrenceburg. Karlee Dowd scored the only goal and Bryn Eudy had 15 saves in goal.
Jennings County tied Richmond 2-2 in its second match of the day. Justine Corya and Olivia VanOsdol scored goals, and Sydney Kirchner and Ali Kreutzjans had assists for the Panthers (0-2-1). Avis McGovern recorded 12 saves.
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