Things got a bit chippy toward the end of Monday evening’s boys soccer match between Greenwood Christian Academy and host Greenwood — likely springing from the frustration the Woodmen were feeling.
Once the dust settled on the Cougars’ 1-0 road win, however, cooler heads prevailed, and the crosstown rivals gathered together at midfield for a brief talk and postgame prayer session.
Gerrit Huizinga’s goal with 12:28 left on the second-half clock was the difference as GCA (9-4) earned its second victory in as many tries against Johnson County opposition. The Cougars had defeated Whiteland earlier this season.
“County teams, it’s always fun to win those and have a little bragging rights,” GCA coach Dan Carmichael said.
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After a more balanced first half, the Cougars took clear control of the action in the second, keeping the ball almost exclusively on Greenwood’s half of the pitch and peppering goalie Damon Maynard with shots.
GCA had a golden opportunity in the 54th minute when Josue Mier fired a hard shot to the right side, but Maynard came up with a diving save before also turning away a shot on the subsequent corner kick.
Three minutes later, George Apger had a couple of chances from point-blank range, but Maynard denied both.
“He’s an amazing goalkeeper,” Huizinga said of Maynard. “He’s probably the best I’ve seen.”
Not even Maynard, though, could hold up forever against near-constant pressure, and he finally broke when Mier sent a pass out to the left side of the box for Huizinga, who scraped a tough-angle shot off the bottom of the crossbar and tucked it just inside the right post.
Greenwood made a late push forward, even moving Maynard up to play in the field for the final two and a half minutes in an attempt to generate some offense, but the Woodmen (0-12-1) came up empty in their quest to close the regular season with their first win of the year.
Though Greenwood Christian has had six starters battling injuries, Carmichael is feeling good about his team heading into the postseason.
“I think we’re peaking at the right time,” he said. “It’s just a matter of, we’ve got to be a little bit stronger offensively, checking to the ball, being a little bit more greedy, wanting the ball more.”
Greenwood plays its sectional opener Monday against Whiteland at Center Grove. GCA faces Morristown in the Southwestern (Shelby) Sectional on Wednesday.