For the Daily Journal
Class A No. 12 Greenwood Christian survived a rough-and-tumble affair that saw more fouls than shots to beat host Indianapolis Lutheran 1-0 in the opening round of the Class A boys soccer sectional Monday.
The two teams combined to commit 24 fouls in the game while taking just 18 shots in a contest dominated by the defense. In the end, a Jack Kovacs goal late in the first half proved to be the difference.
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“I’m very thankful. It wasn’t our best soccer, but the guys played with a lot of heart and we didn’t lose our composure,” Greenwood Christian coach George Huizinga said. “The refereeing was really good. He called it tight, but he also let us play physical. It could have gone either way. Lutheran is a really good team. Thankfully, we came out on the winning side this time.”
These same two teams matched up just a week ago, with Lutheran pulling out the 1-0 win. It was a similar game Monday, with goals hard to come by.
Greenwood Christian (12-3-1) was hit harder by the referee’s whistle, getting called for eight fouls in the first half to just one by Lutheran. But the Cougars overcame that to score the game’s lone goal in the 30th minute.
Gerrit Huizinga set up the game-winner, drawing the defense far to the right of the goal and sending the ball back across the box. Kovacs was there to settle the ball and fired a shot into the left side of the goal that just inched its way past the pole.
“Hats off to him. Jack Kovacs is left-footed, and he hit it with his right foot; it just made its way in,” George Huizinga said. “That’s what you want your guys to do when the get around the box, just shoot it, whether it’s their weak foot or not, and that’s what he did.”
Greenwood Christian’s defense made the one goal stand up. Lutheran (8-7-1) did not record a shot on goal until midway through the second half and finished with just five shots in total, two on goal. Greenwood Christian, meanwhile, finished with 13 shots overall, nine on goal.
Lutheran keeper Andrew Williamson had eight saves for the Saints while Greenwood Christian goalie Gabe Vessely had two saves.
The victory sends Greenwood Christian to the sectional semifinals, where the Cougars will play fifth-ranked Oldenburg Academy on Wednesday in a battle of ranked teams. The Twisters edged Southwestern (Shelby) 1-0 in the other first-round game Monday.