With the score tied 0-0 at halftime of Wednesday night’s Columbus North boys soccer sectional opener, Brad Shaw and his fellow senior Bull Dogs came to a realization.
Shaw scored two of sixth-ranked and defending state runner-up North’s three second-half goals, and the Bull Dogs knocked off Seymour 3-1.
“It was basically the realization at halftime that maybe for the seniors, this is our last game if we don’t put them away,” Shaw said. “We had to eventually do what we had to do and put a goal in the back of the net.”
North couldn’t find the net in a 0-0 tie at Seymour on Sept. 25. Then Wednesday, the Bull Dogs took 20 shots in the first half, putting eight on goal, but the Owls’ Chase Salmon kept turning them away.
“It was more frustrating that we didn’t score at all the first game we played them, knowing that East beat them 4-0,” Shaw said. “The first half, we should have wiped them out. We had plenty of chances. We missed them, but we eventually got them in the second half.”
Shaw finally broke the ice in the 44th minute when he took a pass from Reid Wilson and stuck a shot from the left corner of the box just inside the right post. Five minutes later, Wilson headed in a cross from Robbie Hughes.
The Owls (8-6-3) answered in the 51st minute when Andrew Bailiff got loose on a breakaway after taking a lead pass from Anthony Roark. With Seymour pushed forward trying for the equalizer, Shaw scored off an assist from Wilson in the 79th minute.
“We started to play our brand a little bit more consistently,” North coach Andy Glover said. “In all honesty, it was a matter of time, we thought, although we have to give credit to Seymour. They defended well, and their goalkeeper made some really, really great saves in the first half.”
Salmon finished with 16 saves.
“He had made some saves, the post had made some saves, and you start to believe ‘This is your night. This is something that you’re able to do,’” Seymour coach Matt Dennis said. “And even with three goals in the second half, he was still awesome. That very easily could have been more goals in the first half, and all credit to him for helping us fix our flaws.”
The Bull Dogs (11-1-4) finished with a 43-9 shot advantage, putting 19 shots on goal to four for the Owls. North’s Chase Francoeur recorded three saves.
“I’m disappointed in the loss, but the effort is not something I’m disappointed in,” Dennis said. “We fought very, very hard. You go back to last Tuesday when we played North — we kept them out of the net for 120 minutes, and that’s something a lot of people didn’t do this season. We’re very proud of that.”