Cougars dominate sectional

INDIANAPOLIS

Even Mother Nature can only keep the Greenwood Christian boys soccer team down for so long.

The Class A No. 12 Cougars dominated Saturday’s sectional championship match at Indianapolis Lutheran, using three unanswered goals midway through to pull away for a 4-1 victory and a third sectional crown in seven years.

Greenwood Christian (14-3-1) will face top-ranked Covenant Christian at noon Saturday in the semifinal round of the Knightstown Regional.

“We’re playing well, and we’re peaking at the right time,” Cougars coach George Huizinga said. “We’ve got a lot of good momentum going into regionals, and we’re confident. We think we can win the next game.”

With a strong wind at their backs, the Jets (4-7-3) were able to move the ball into Cougar territory numerous times in the first half, but those advances didn’t bear much fruit – the lone shot on goal Hauser mustered in the first 30 minutes was on a long poke from nearly 40 yards out.

Meanwhile, GCA kept the ball primarily on the ground and had a handful of dangerous opportunities on counterattacks. Griffin Huizinga fed a couple of through balls to Styles McCorkle that produced shots, but one went wide and another was smothered by Hauser netminder Kameron Lawson, who also saved a hard shot from Huizinga in the 13th minute.

Greenwood Christian finally broke through with 21:52 remaining in the first half when Jack Kovacs settled a wide free kick and served it in toward the right goalpost, where Huizinga was waiting to head it home.

After an apparent second goal by Griffin Huizinga later in the half was waved off due to an offsides call, the Jets finally took advantage of the elements to tie the game. A.J. Titus hammered a free kick from almost 50 yards away that sailed just high enough to evade the grasp of Greenwood Christian keeper Gabe Vessely and bounced into the net with 5:24 on the clock.

The score remained even for a whopping 89 seconds. Huizinga chipped a free kick from 25 yards over the Hauser wall toward the goal mouth, where Daniel Wilson emerged from a crowd and poked the ball past Lawson.

“It’s just hard to adjust,” Kovacs said of the first-half wind, “but we had chances and we capitalized on them.”

Once the teams changed directions after the break, the Cougars had little trouble putting the match away. McCorkle cashed in on a Kovacs cross just 2:36 into the second half, and Josue Muir scored exactly 10 minutes later to make it 4-1.

“We were super confident at halftime,” George Huizinga said, “and I told these guys, ‘You’d better be hungry, because you’re going to have some opportunities.”

Greenwood Christian maintained control the rest of the way, and though it didn’t tack on any additional goals down the stretch, it didn’t need to.

Author photo
Ryan O'Leary is sports editor for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at roleary@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2715.