The Center Grove and Franklin girls soccer teams both had chances to tie their opponents late in the first half in Thursday’s Columbus East Sectional semifinals, but both came away empty.

The Trojans ended up falling to Columbus North 2-0, and the Grizzly Cubs lost to host East 4-0. The Bull Dogs and Olympians will meet for the sectional title at 7 p.m. Saturday.

“We worked hard all week and in practice,” Center Grove coach Mike Bishop said. “We were feeling good, pretty confident tactically what we were going to do, and they got two goals on two plays.”

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The Trojans (10-5-3) were trailing 1-0 when Piper Belden was taken down in the box in the 38th minute. Belden had to leave the game, and Megan Perry stepped up to take the penalty kick, which was smothered by North’s Liz Tynan.

The Bull Dogs’ Tanner Johnson then scored her second goal of the game in the 58th minute to give North a two-goal lead.

“You put (the penalty kick) away, and you get back in it, and it changes the scale of any game,” Bishop said. “But they were a better team today. We hustled around and made a lot of things happen. We just couldn’t get the shots, and that’s what it boils down to.”

The Bull Dogs outshot Center Grove 14-9, putting five shots on goal to two for the Trojans. Ella Thompson recorded three saves.

In the nightcap, Franklin (4-12) also trailed only 1-0 at halftime. After East scored on a free kick in the 35th minute, the Grizzly Cubs put one just over the net on a corner kick opportunity.

“It could have easily been 1-1,” Franklin coach David Young said. “Then, you play the second half a little differently. You don’t have to push up as much whenever you’re down 2-0.”

The Olympians scored three goals in the second half to account for the final margin.

East outshot the Grizzly Cubs 26-8, putting 14 shots on goal to six for Franklin. Alexandria Bedard played the first 70 minutes in goal and recorded eight saves, and Mackenzie Brown posted one save over the final 10 minutes.

“They fought, which is all we can ask,” Young said. “Columbus East is a good team. They have a lot of good club players and are able to put the ball in the back of the net.”

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Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at or 812-379-5636.