Highlanders stop Olympians in opener

Floyd Central’s second-half performance was a little too much for defending sectional champion Columbus East to handle in Monday’s season-opening boys soccer match.

It was a scoreless first half until the Class 3A No. 19 Highlanders struck for a couple of goals in the final 33 minutes to seal a 2-0 Hoosier Hills Conference victory against the 3A No. 15 Olympians.

East coach Brad Barber expects his team to improve as the season goes along, but Floyd Central was a big test for the Olympians, he said.  

“Floyd Central is a very good team,” Barber said. “We held with them for awhile, but their experience and athleticism really showed through in the second half. We’re not to that level yet, but if we do the right things hopefully we get a chance to see them again come postseason.” 

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The Highlanders drew first blood when the ball took a high bounce near the East goal, and Kyle Rippy headed it in the net in the 47th minute. The second goal by Chandler Burke came in the 64th minute. 

East had a few of opportunities to score with three shots on goal. Floyd Central had six shots on goal, with Olympian keeper Zach Roberts recording three saves. The Highlanders had an opportunity for a shot with Roberts being caught out of position, but Daniel Boggs stepped in for that save.

Barber took away a few positives from the season opener and said he was impressed with his underclassmen showing they are able to play at a high level, especially freshman forward Christopher Quisenberry and freshman midfielder Korbin Hatcher. 

“Both came in at their positions and held themselves very well against a very good opponent,” Barber said. “They were able to get the ball on the deck and keep possession at times, and Chris was able to create a few scoring opportunities for us. We just need to be better at finishing those.”