Thursday evening’s trip to Holder Field for a match with Perry Meridian offered the Center Grove boys soccer team a chance to avenge last year’s bitter regional defeat.
The Trojans didn’t waste the opportunity.
Sophomore Colin Parry got Center Grove on the board in the 49th minute of play when he converted a short crossing pass from Luke Boha, and the visitors made that tally stand up for a 1-0 victory.
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“It’s one of our more difficult games,” Center Grove coach Jameson McLaughlin said. “One, because they’re well coached and two, just the way we match up. So it’s a big win for us.”
Neither team put together many credible scoring threats during a quiet and evenly matched first half. The Falcons made a few forays inside the Trojans’ 18-yard line but couldn’t put a hard shot on goal, and Center Grove’s three shots on net were fairly tame attempts from longer distances.
That changed quickly after halftime, when Boha set up Parry for a point-blank shot from about 10 yards out with 31:41 remaining.
“It was a great goal, great pass,” Parry said. “I love my teammates; I couldn’t ask for anything better.”
Center Grove (2-0) had a couple of golden opportunities to add to the lead shortly thereafter, but Nick Shirer narrowly missed the mark on a pair of shots and Ben DeRose caromed a penalty kick off the inside of the left goalpost.
Fortunately for Center Grove, it didn’t matter. Perry Meridian made a handful of pushes into scoring territory during the final 15 minutes but was unable to crack the Trojan defense. Senior goalie Jacob Cooley completed the shutout, making three of his saves down the stretch.
McLaughlin attributed the second-half surge in each of Center Grove’s first two matches to his team’s superior depth.
“We play 20, 21 kids almost equal minutes, and you can see how it just wears people out,” the coach said. “Bloomington North, when we played them Monday, they couldn’t run at the end of the game. So that’s a luxury I have.”