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Panthers fall short in sectional final

Panthers fall short in sectional final
Panthers fall short in sectional final
Corydon Central’s Hayden Ettner controls the ball during the first period of Saturday night’s soccer sectional final against Scottsburg. The Panthers lost 1-0. Submitted photo

Having already met twice during the season, the Corydon Central boys’ soccer team hoped a third matchup with Scottsburg, this time in the Indiana High School Athletic Association 2A sectional championship game, would be a different result. However, the Panthers came up short on the Warriors home pitch, 1-0, Saturday night.

The game remained scoreless with less than 28 minutes to play when Scottsburg’s Keyton Hollan’s pass found Lane Hancock in front of the goal, putting the ball past goalkeeper Jacob Chaires.

“We just wanted to make sure we respected them,” said Corydon Central boys’ soccer coach Justin Bottorff. “Respected the loss and took the ‘L’ the way we should. That way we could learn from it and bounce back.”

The Panthers started the game a little slow, but, after about five minutes to get into the full swing of the game, Corydon Central spent the rest of the first half with its fair share of opportunities. The team had multiple free kicks that led to Panthers’ corner kicks, but none would find the back of the net.

With approximately 14:30 to play in the first half, senior forward Lucas Lee dribbled into the edge of the penalty box. The Panthers’ fans wanted a foul called and a Corydon Central penalty kick, but the officials didn’t blow the whistle.

Less than five minutes later, Scottsburg appeared to capitalize when a shot passed Chaires. However, the goal was waived off due to the Warriors’ attacker standing in an offsides position when the ball was passed to him. The goal was taken away, and Corydon Central didn’t let the near goal disrupt its play. Chaires made a couple of goal-stopping saves that kept Corydon Central in the game the entire night.

“We were going to stay strong minded,” said Bottorff, who gave credit to the officials for making the offsides call to take the goal away, even in front of the Warriors’ home crowd.

While Corydon Central spent the final 28 minutes of the game looking for the equalizer, none came closer than with 11 minutes to play. Sophomore Hayden Ettner had a good look from about 20 yards away. His shot struck well, low and heading right for the corner net. However, the Scottsburg goal keeper extended himself on the dive to force the ball out and give the Panthers a corner kick. Ettner had put his hands in his face because he knew that might had been the difference.

Scottsburg kept Corydon Central off the scoreboard for 80 minutes and had beaten the Panthers on the year by scores of 3-1 and 5-1. The Warriors, who were Mid-Southern Conference champions, only had lost to Jeffersonville.

The Panthers end the year with an 11-5-1 record.

“This does not define us,” Bottorff said after the loss, adding that was the discussion before and during the game. “We have to give credit to a great team, but we don’t regret and we don’t come off the field thinking we could have done more.”

Corydon Central was the only Harrison County soccer team to win a post-season game this fall. North Harrison’s season ended in the Scottsburg sectional, falling to Madison Consolidated in a shootout. The Panthers beat Madison Consolidated to advance to the sectional final.

Lanesville’s soccer team fell to Henryville, 6-1, at the 1A sectional at Trinity Lutheran in Seymour.

The girls’ soccer teams at Corydon Central and North Harrison played their sectional games in Madison, with both schools having their year end by Salem. Silver Creek toppled Salem to win the sectional tournament.

Bottorff said he and some members of his team will participate in next month’s Indiana Elite North vs. South showcase in Danville.

From there, the coach said the next thing he will have to do for next season is recruit eighth graders, as his program graduates 12 seniors. That’s approximately half of this fall’s roster.