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Powerful Pioneers roll past NH

Powerful Pioneers roll past NH
Powerful Pioneers roll past NH
North Harrison goal keeper Quinn Kaiser gets his hands on a ball, while teammate Austin Spencer helps defend against the potent Providence offense. Fellow North Harrison defender Blake Winn (5) guards the goal line. Photo by Brian Smith

One program had some experience of playing in a state final a year ago; the other boasted a lineup of 75-percent freshmen and sophomores. For North Harrison and its rather green group of boys’ soccer players, the experience didn’t lend to its favor in the opening round of the Class A Providence Sectional Monday.
Providence, the defending Class A state runner-up, was held off the scoreboard for the first 16 minutes but tallied plenty of goals after. The Pioneers went on to win 13-0, earning a spot in today’s (Wednesday) semi-final against Rock Creek Academy. The opposite semi pits Lanesville against Christian Academy of Indiana at 5 p.m.
Attempting to pull off a monumental upset, North Harrison went into a defensive tactic at kickoff. Packing plenty of players near its defensive back-line, North Harrison tried to stand in the way and disrupt the Pioneers’ chances.
North Harrison keeper Quinn Kaiser had a few leaping stops in the opening minutes, holding Providence off the scoreboard. Playing on Providence’s artificial surface, the host school fired 39 shots for the game.
It wasn’t until the 17th minute that the first goal crossed the line. Off a corner kick, Kaiser’s attempt to smack the ball away fell to the feet of Juston Betz. He drilled the ball to the back of the net to give Providence a 1-0 lead.
‘Because they move off the ball so well, it creates so much confusion even with us playing a more defensive tactic,’ North Harrison coach Clint Clark said. ‘There is nothing soft they do.’
Before Providence scored its first goal, North Harrison had a break opportunity with Noah Yost playing up top. The Cougars earned a corner kick, but Austin Spencer’s delivery to Hunter Ganote failed to produce a shot.
Providence added three more goals ‘ two from Alex Rogers and one from Eli Coker ‘ before North Harrison had another shot. Yost had an attempt saved while later in the opening half Ben Waynescott had a solid opportunity denied.
At the break, the Cougars trailed 5-0.
Providence polished the game off quickly in the first 90 seconds of the second half, scoring three additional goals.
Scoring goals for the Pioneers were Alex Rogers (two), Alex Ebert (two), Connor Van Hook, Juston Betz, Logan Rauck, Brenden Tucker, Jason Murner, Jake Miller, Kevin Chrisco, Eli Coker and Roman Arvizu. Conner Van Hook had three assists.
‘Their control is impeccable,’ Clark said of Providence. ‘I have the highest regard for their program and wouldn’t be surprised if they get to the state final again. Their touch is great and (they) move without the ball really well. They struck the ball out of the air for some goals.’
North Harrison did attempt four shots, all on goal, but wasn’t able to turn the zero on the scoreboard to a goal.
‘The tactic did work, and we executed the way we practiced,’ Clark said. ‘When we did come forward with Noah Yost, we wanted a couple to follow him. I think those guys weren’t sure who should go. They didn’t want to make a mistake since it was close early.’
Clark said the attention to grow the North Harrison will continue. The goal is to first compete in the Mid-Southern Conference before tackling the tall task of upsetting a tradition-rich program like Providence.
‘We set a goal to try to win the conference,’ Clark said. ‘We thought with what Corydon lost, we thought we could be there. We tied a lot, meaning our offensive power wasn’t there. A positive is we are building to where the conference is something we are more competitive with.’