3A No. 9 Panthers edge Bull Dogs, claim conference title

Avery Baker

Although they were a huge underdog going into Monday night’s girls soccer matchup with Class 3A No. 9 Bloomington South, Columbus North had a chanced to earn at least of the share of the Conference Indiana title with an upset win.

For nearly a half, it looked like that upset might come to fruition. Thanks to an early goal, the Bull Dogs led 1-0 for most of the opening half, but the Panthers scored twice in the final five minutes of the half and held on for a 2-1 win to claim the outright conference title.

“We’ve grown since the first couple weeks of the season for sure,” North coach David Young said. “Scorelines have shown that. The last two or three weeks, six or seven matches, we’ve played well.”

The Bull Dogs (5-5-3, 3-2) struck in the fourth minute when Avery Baker took a lead pass from Anna Donica and put one past Bloomington South keeper Paloma Martinez Labathe into the left corner of the net.

That allowed North to play a more defensive game until the Panthers’ Valerie Bunde tied it in the 36th minute. Bloomington South (11-2-1, 4-0) then took the lead with just 15 seconds left in the half when Katherine Lacy laced a free kick that bounced off a Bull Dog defender and into the net.

“We had kind of a game plan in place,” Young said. “The first five minutes, we scored, which was awesome. Unfortunately, there was about five or six minutes of the first half that we gave up a couple.”

Having lost to Terre Haute South in their conference opener, North needed a win and not a tie to gain a share of the conference crown.

“The game plan definitely changed whenever they scored to tie it up,” Young said. “Then, whenever they scored to go up 2-1, we scratched all the halftime notes and kind of rewrote what we were going to do the second half. We had a couple opportunities, had some corners and just not enough.”

The Panthers outshot the Bull Dogs 31-3. Bloomington South put 15 shots on goal, while North’s early score was its only shot on goal.

Paige Terry recorded 13 saves for the Bull Dogs.

“B-South is a good team,” Young said. “They’re always a good team. They always bring their A-game against pretty much everybody they play.”

Thanks to Terre Haute North’s win over Terre Haute South last week and Columbus North’s win at Terre Haute North on Saturday, the Bull Dogs were able to finish in a tie with Terre Haute South for second place in Conference Indiana.

“A young team like we are, the future is bright for sure,” Young said. “Second place in conference, we’ll take, and hopefully next year, we’ll show out better than second.”