|Sat, Dec 07, 2013 10:29 AM
|Issue of November 27, 2013
October 02, 2013 | 12:39 PM
Senior night and the final home game for the North Harrison boys' soccer team came as a surprise to the seven upperclassmen and two foreign exchange students.
"Shoals canceled on us tomorrow night, and I told them that right before the game that this would be our last home game," North Harrison coach Clint Clark said.
Sending the seniors off with a win was in the cards. Scoring three unanswered goals helped the Cougars defeat visiting Lanesville 4-2 on Monday.
North Harrison wasted little time scoring. Carlos Martinez, one of the exchange students honored, put '1' on the scoreboard with a goal in the third minute.
Managing to bounce back quickly, Lanesville netted a pair of goals in less than a two-minute span.
Both goals came from standout midfielder Andrew Kennedy, who is coming back from an injury. His first goal came in the 11th minute with a strong right-footed crack from outside the penalty box.
With 27:14 left in the first half, Lanesville earned a corner kick that set up the next score. Taylor Patterson took the corner from the left side and swung the ball in toward the penalty area. The ball found Kennedy's head that directed the ball into the net, giving the Eagles a 2-1 lead.
"It was nice having Andrew back," Lanesville coach Scott Rogers said.
Clark was aware that all the senior festivities held before the game could cause a let-down in the opening half of play.
"We struggled with the play in the beginning and had a few let-downs," Clark said. "I expected a little bit of that with the activities before the game. They get excited and emotional, but I told the kids to enjoy that; senior days are good memories and not to avoid it. We had a little talk at halftime, but they knew it."
There was a flurry of chances for both teams to score in the latter half of the first 40 minutes. North Harrison's Noah Yost had an opportunity in front of net, while Kennedy missed a hat trick in the 23rd minute when his shot rang the left post.
North Harrison was able to tie the game in the 30th minute when Hunter Gray made a turn in the middle of the pitch and fired a shot into the bottom left of the goal.
Despite giving up the goal, Lanesville pressed on. Micah Lane and Rachel Barr nearly hooked up for a goal when a cross skirted through the box. Kennedy and Lane also nearly scored off set pieces, but shots were wide of target.
North Harrison went back on the offensive in the final few minutes with James Medina misfiring. With one minute left before the half, Gray slipped a pass through the Lanesville defense to Martinez, who scored to give North Harrison a 3-2 halftime lead.
Adding an insurance goal, Gray scored his second four minutes into the second half.
"Carlos and Hunter are very similar players," Clark said. "They have good foot and dribbling skills, and you have to honor that. If you over commit to one, you'll lose it on the other one. When they team up on give-and-goes, it can be a magical thing, especially when we work in a third attacker."
Lanesville had opportunities late but were held out of the goal by Cougars keeper Nathan Wayman.
"They kept going and never gave up," Rogers said of his team. "Usually on a score like that, a team will die down, but they tried to score up to the final second. I congratulated them, that no matter what they kept playing."
The second half, even though it only produced one goal, held positives, Clark said.
"We timed up things better on getting the ball to the net and stopped going offside," he said. "Once they figured that out, it worked out nice. The energy in the second half was much more impressive.
"It's a good way to go out for our seniors on their home field," he added.
Both teams look forward to competing in the upcoming Class A Providence Sectional, which will begin next week. Both will seek to avenge losses: North Harrison will face Providence, while Lanesville will take on Christian Academy of Indiana.
"We want to keep working on our communication. Talking is key in soccer so every knows what is going on," Rogers said. "We lost 4-1 to Christian Academy, but it was our first game. Those are always a toss-up, and I think we've formed well as a team since then."
"We played Providence real well the first time we played them, but, as long as we can stay together and work as a team, we'll do well," Clark said of the Cougars. "We'll fine tune some things and get some rest. We'll pay attention to the good things they are doing so we can get more of that."