Center Grove used two early scores to repeat as regional champions Saturday at the Mt. Vernon Boys Soccer Regional.
Junior midfielder Conner Campbell and senior defender Nathan Silva each found the net just 10 minutes into the first half to seal a 4-1 win over the host Marauders in championship match.
The Class 2A No. 7 Trojans scored 11 goals in two regional contests, including seven in a rout of Franklin Central in the semifinals on Thursday.
Head coach Jameson McLaughlin’s squad grabbed early momentum and held on in a physical match that saw multiple yellow cards.
“When you play a team at home and it’s lose or go home, you know they’re going to play hard,” McLaughlin said. “Mt. Vernon played very hard.”
With the win, the Trojans advance to Saturday’s Evansville Harrison Semistate, where they’ll play Bloomington South in a semifinal match.
As for the regional, Campbell scored near the box on a throw in from senior defender Brian Wheeler eight minutes into the game. Silva followed two minutes later off a free kick at the top of the box, rifling a ball under Marauder’s (16-3-1) keeper junior Josh Powell to give Center Grove (18-2-1) a 2-0 lead at the break.
Powell was challenged several times in the opening half and came up with 11 saves 40 minutes in. He finished with 17 in the game.
“That’s the best goalkeeper we’ve seen all season,” McLaughlin said. “He made some diving stops there to keep them in it or it could have been a little uglier.”
Senior forward Conrad Bomber, who had two assists in the semifinal round, added a dagger 10 minutes into the second half with a close score in a crowded box to give Center Grove a 3-0 lead.
Senior forward Reed Sauter scored Center Grove’s final goal with 11:41 left on the clock, dribbling right and beating Powell on the left side to give the Trojans a 4-0 advantage.
The Marauders added a late score from senior midfielder Devin Nelson with four minutes remaining.
Trojan senior keeper Logan Wade finished with nine saves. Powell entered Saturday’s contest with 11 shutouts.
Center Grove plays Bloomington South in a noon semifinal of the Evansville Harrison Semistate.
“They work hard and play great defense,” McLaughlin said of Bloomington South. “They don’t give you anything easy.”