3A No. 9 Panthers edge Olympians

Columbus East’s record isn’t as great as is was the past three boys soccer seasons, but the Olympians can take solace in the fact that they’ve played some of the state’s top teams close.

Earlier this season, East tied Columbus North, which now is ranked No. 4 in Class 3A. Monday night, the Olympians lost only 1-0 to 3A No. 9 Bloomington South.

“This is one of the few times this season where I think all 11 players played for each other on the field,” East coach Josh Gonsior said. “I was really happy with the effort they put in today. That’s the kind of effort we need going into the postseason. The effort is there, and I think knowing that they can play at that level is going to make a difference.”

The Panthers (11-1-2) scored the game’s lone goal in the 57th minute. Elliot Thurston took a cross in front of the net and put one past Olympians goalkeeper Pete Coriden.

East (2-8-4) had a couple of excellent chances in the second half before and after that goal. In the 44th minute, a Jake Hofelich corner kick bounced around in front of the net before Bloomington South was able to clear it. In the 65th minute, Huestin De Los Santos put a shot just over the crossbar.

The Panthers outshot the Olympians 8-3, putting five shots on goal to one for East. Coriden finished with four saves.

“We’ve had the challenge of trying to replace the goal-scoring this year, and going forward and creating opportunities in the attack has been difficult,” Gonsior said. “You’re playing a top-level team like that, and they’re going to have most of the ball, and you just have to be organized and take your opportunities when they come.”

East wraps up the regular season Saturday at Jeffersonville before taking on North in the opening round of the Roncalli Sectional on Tuesday.