Cougars shut out Lanesville
Wade Bell, Contributing Writer
The North Harrison boys’ soccer team shut down the host Lanesville Eagles in their final match of the regular season last Monday with plans to take that momentum into this week’s sectional competition at Scottsburg. The Cougars fired in a second-half barrage to put Lanesville away in a 5-0 win.
“We were a little frustrated on how hard some of our kids have been playing during the game, so we started our mids and our forward with a bunch of freshmen and played the first 20 minutes,” said North Harrison co-coach Marcus Burgher IV. “They did a great job to hold them scoreless. Our defenses have done a really great job in the back.”
“We left a lot of effort out there,” said Lanesville coach Brady Sanders. “I think we played really hard. North Harrison is a very good team. We have a lot of respect for them. They combined with each other a lot. They played as one big unit … I’m happy with the outcome. All we can ask for is for all of our players to leave all of their effort out there and do the best they can. I believe they did that, so I’m happy with it.”
Nearly all of the first half was played defensively with the shots being taken flying everywhere but inside the net. Lanesville was getting few chances for shots at the goal as the Cougars controlled the ball most of the half. The Eagles got just four chances on goal in the first 40 minutes.
North Harrison was getting plenty of shots but kept missing the mark. Finally, after 14 missed shots, the Cougars’ Nico Schulz-Semb-ten found the mark from inside the box with 2:12 left in the segment. With five seconds left in the half, Jack Burks fired a long shot that also reached the back of the net, and North Harrison had a 2-0 lead at halftime.
“I thought the young kids came in and played well defensively like they always do,” Burgher said. “Our back four guys, we’ve got five guys that play in those spots most of the time, they do a really good job. The freshmen did a really good job of stepping up and playing some early and did a good job.”
“We struggle a little bit with having subs,” Sanders said. “Our bench is not very deep so, as the game went on, we got tired and I think that was our biggest fallback. For 30 minutes of this game, I thought we competed very well. I thought we were going to have a chance to pull that out, but they had 20 good players that could all play. They ran us. I think that was a big factor in the game. You can get subs and get some rest in and that goes a long ways. I think our defense held it together pretty well.”
The Cougars put away the game midway through the second half with three quick goals. Jake Galligan fired in the first one with 26:42 left in the game. Just over a minute later, Schulz-Sembten got back-to-back goals to complete a hat trick, leading to the Cougars’ 5-0 win.
“There late in the game, I think our strength and our other kids just took over,” Burgher said. “They made some nice runs, and this is what we want them to do. But, the same issues we’ve been dealing with all year is creating opportunities to score, and that’s what we’re working on. We’re getting there, but we’ve got a long way to go.
“We actually changed at halftime how we were going to attack. We attacked that way, and we scored on all of them. That’s where we got most of our shots,” he said. “It’s a lot of guys learning the game and trying to understand what we’re doing.”
“If we could pick up a couple of more players, I think it would go a long way but, really, our team is just young,” said Sanders. “All of our players didn’t start ’til their freshmen year. So, I think just getting more touches on the ball is where we need to start, learning the game, getting the knowledge, where to be and when to go, learning positioning.”
North Harrison had 27 shots on goal with five into the net. Lanesville finished with just nine shots on goal for the 80 minutes of play.
“They played hard,” Burgher said of Lanesville. “They’ve got some kids that always play hard. They’re playing a high line and had some offside calls. They’re always a good team. They always compete. They’ve been down a little bit as far as record-wise the last two years, but they’re always a team that competes and plays hard. They’ve got some girls that are talented little players that do a good job. The Crosier girl always does a solid job and is a great player. She’s a kid I used to coach in youth and played really well.”
“Austin Crosier in the back, she’s just a heck of a player,” Sanders said. “She stops all kinds of runs that they make. She covers passing lanes and intercepts a bunch. For a girl playing an all-boys team, she can play with the best of them. I love having her around. She’s definitely a big key to our team. She’s a big motivator for this team. I think everybody looks up to her to a certain degree. She’s all-around a huge asset for us.”
“I think we’re on track to be a very good team,” he said. “We’re building the program up, getting feeder programs going, getting players built up at a younger age, getting them started. I think that’s going to go a long ways.”
Burgher said he just wants his team to stay in one piece going into the tournament.
“We’ve got some kids that are injured, so we’re going to try to get healthy this week,” he said. “We’re going to try to get prepared for sectional. We’ll find out who we’re playing and go from there.”
North Harrison 2 3 – 5
Lanesville 0 0 – 0
North Harrison – Nico Schulz-Sembten 3, Jack Burks 1, Jake Galligan 1.