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3-goal 2nd half vaults NH

3-goal 2nd half vaults NH
3-goal 2nd half vaults NH
North Harrison players Dylan Salstgaver, left, and Isaac Gleitz, right, surround teammate Luke Robertson (13) after the latter scored the go-ahead goal at Corydon Central last Wednesday. Saltsgaver assisted the goal. Photo by Brian Smith

Dylan Saltsgaver was waiting for that ‘finally’ moment.
From his defensive position on the right wing, the North Harrison junior knew the Cougars’ attackers were going to strike at some point to break a 1-all tie at rival Corydon Central.
With 22:30 to go in regulation, it turned out to be Saltsgaver who would kick-start North Harrison’s go-ahead goal. Taking an aggressive path to steal a Corydon Central pass near midfield, Saltsgaver took a few touches on the ball to initiate a counter attack. Sending a beauty of a diagonal pass through an open space, teammate Luke Robertson made a run. From just outside the box, Robertson fired a shot to the back of the net before slipping on the grass.
The goal put the Cougars up 2-1. They later notched an insurance goal to land a 3-1 victory last Wednesday.
‘I saw the pass coming and tried to snag it,’ Saltsgaver said. ‘Once I took off with the ball, I saw Luke make a run and I thought, ‘Let’s make a perfect pass.’ It was a great moment.’
North Harrison co-coach Kirk Wetzel said the team was looking to create with diagonal runs.
‘He came from deep and pushed through. It caught us off guard because no one covered for him,’ Wetzel said. ‘Carter (Wetzel), as a forward, made a run back, and Dylan made a great diagonal pass. The defenders stand back and watch it all happen and sometimes they look for an opportunity to go make it happen. He took advantage of it.’
The goal pushed North Harrison ahead after the Cougars fell behind 1-0 in the opening half. It was the second straight Mid-Southern Conference game the Cougars have had to rally. Two days prior, they had to do the same versus Scottsburg. Now, they sit at 3-0 in league play while Corydon Central dropped to 2-2.
‘We had a big crowd, conference, and I could see they were tight before the game,’ Corydon Central coach Rodney Shehorn said. ‘Usually leading up to a game, I can fire them up, but I could tell Monday night they were tight. There wasn’t much cutting up at practice … The hunters became the hunted.’
The Panthers were coming off an impressive win versus Silver Creek and were positioned to return to the race to the top of the MSC table.
In the first half, Corydon Central used long runs by forward Lucas Lee to create some chances. On a break in the 31st minute, Lee used his speed to get past the North Harrison defense. With only the keeper in front of him, Lee put away the game’s first goal to the bottom corner.
‘I got two teams,’ Shehorn said. ‘The wrong one showed up today. We came out flat and got a good score when Lucas got out in front and got away. It was a good score, but we never really moved the ball the way we needed to. We would get one or two touches then give the ball away.’
North Harrison wasn’t able to put away shots in the opening 40 minutes. Florian Mueller had an attempt hit the crossbar, then Marcus Burgher V had a chance saved by Corydon Central’s Nathaniel Smythe.
Come the second half, the Cougars started pushing forward. Mueller, an exchange student from Germany, sent a cross in from the deep right corner. On the receiving end was Isaac Gleitz, who buried the shot to equalize the game.
‘It felt most of the game we had possession,’ Saltsgaver said. ‘Their defense, it was tough to get past them at times. They kept taking the ball, but we knew we’d get through.’
Gleitz had another shot about 10 minutes later but found the side netting. Cory- don Central, meanwhile, saw Lee push forward again, but his attempt was thwarted by North Harrison keeper Derek Saunders.
It was Robertson who broke the tie with his goal midway through the second half. It wasn’t the last one for the Cougars. Mueller took a cross from Robertson and smashed in a shot for a 3-1 North Harrison lead.
‘When we made a change to run guys through from the sides and crossing instead of running straight, gaps started to open up,’ North Harrison co-coach Marcus Burgher IV said. ‘Their group looked a little tired in the second half. This time of year when you are playing every other day, it gets pretty tiring.’
Mueller has been a boost for the Cougars. Burgher IV said the exchange student wanted to play for North Harrison but didn’t attend early season practices, thinking there was a fee associated with participating.
‘A teacher called me and said he really wanted to play but he didn’t want to spend the money to play,’ Burgher IV said. ‘We got in contact, and he got in his 10 practices. He’s from Germany and a good kid that fits in well.’
While Mueller has soccer experience, the Southern Indiana humidity has been a bit of shock.
‘The first JV game he played, we thought we were going to need oxygen for him,’ Burgher IV said. ‘He was exhausted.’
Corydon Central pushed forward late in the game but couldn’t put in a goal. Ryan Shewmaker had a big strike from distance but was punched over the top of goal.
‘It’s frustrating,’ Shehorn said. ‘Our seniors have to stay positive. We have two conference games left, but we shift gears now. Everything goes to preparing how to beat a team like this in sectional. I think there are several teams that will be hard to beat in sectional. This is one of them.’
The back-to-back MSC wins has North Harrison feeling positive vibes.
‘The guys showed grit the last two games,’ coach Wetzel said. ‘We’ve been hit early, and they don’t give up. We’re in a good spot in conference.’
‘We feel you have to win every conference game to win conference,’ added coach Burgher IV. ‘That’s the reality of it and how we look at it. We want them to enjoy it now then move on quickly.’

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