BLOOMINGTON — Columbus North’s soccer teams encountered tough competition Saturday in the Conference Indiana Tournament at Karst Park.
Both squads entered as upper-bracket East seeds and left with a combined 1-3 mark as the boys took second while the girls placed fourth.
The male Bull Dogs opened with a hard-fought 2-1 win against Bloomington North, but were shut out in the title match, losing to Perry Meridian 1-0.
Meanwhile, the North girls were ousted via penalty kicks in their opening contest against Terre Haute North, and were then edged out 2-1 in the consolation battle by Bloomington South.
The Bull Dog boys entered the championship match already owning an earlier win against the Falcons, but found the going to be a struggle early on as Perry Meridian focused on a defense and opportunistic offense.
North controlled the ball the majority of time, but the Falcons still managed to outshoot the Bull Dogs 9-5, including 5-2 in the first half.
After more than 50 minutes of scoreless play, Perry Meridian attacked the North box from all angles and managed to register the game’s lone score after it was slightly deflected and barely broke the goal line in the air before senior keeper Ty Bentham grabbed it.
Despite several more scoring attempts by the Dogs (6-5-3), including a cross from Alex Davidson that just missed being headed in by Jake Osborne, Perry Meridian managed to hold on for the victory.
“Perry Meridian executed exactly what they wanted to do,” North coach Andy Glover said. “They wanted to get just one goal and then hold on and hope for the best.”
Tyler Heathcote and Alex McGill also had shot attempts that just missed for the Bull Dogs. Mason Shaffer, Jannis Anderson and Sam Snider paced a strong defensive effort, while Betham finished with three saves.
In the first contest, Anderson scored off an assist by Davidson, and Kaemon Jiles later booted in the winning score after being set up by Rico Hollenkamp.
“We’ve got a good foundation moving forward,” Glover said. “We just need to work on a higher quality of offense.”
Meanwhile, the Bull Dog girls not only suffered a tough first-round setback in the scorebook, but also had a pair of players go down with concussions, already adding to a list of injured players.
“We’re down to having very little depth,” North coach Derek Stewart said. “We want more offense out there, but right now, our goal is to get people healthy so we can be competitive come sectional time.”
In the consolation battle, Bloomington South knocked in a goal just a few minutes into the start of the second half and then broke a 1-1 tie by scoring the winning goal with just a few minutes remaining.
Meanwhile, Chloe Chambers kept the Bull Dogs (3-8-2) even midway through the second half after launching a shot from about 25 yards. The junior’s looping bomb dropped just over the head of the Panthers’ keeper and into the back of the net.
Chambers also scored North’s lone goal in the semifinal contest against the Patriots.
Freshman Tanner Johnson registered several shot attempts against Bloomington South, including a breakaway straight-on kick late in the contest that got stopped in the last moment by Bloomington South.
Johnson had a trio of attempts in the first half, while Chambers also attempted a second long-range looping shot minutes after her successful boot.
South outshot North 10-8, with Bull Dogs junior keeper Charlotte Verbanic registering five saves.