Cougars hold on against Eagles
By Brandon Miniard, Sports Writer, [email protected]
With the high school soccer reaching its climax, Lanesville began the final week of the regular season by playing host to county rival North Harrison.
Amid the cool late-September air, the intensity of a late-season matchup between county foes burned brightly in a display of stout defense and timely offense. For the Cougars, a pair of goals toward the end of the first half was just enough as they claimed victory over their hosts, 2-1.
“In the first half, both sides were pretty much playing the same style of ball, but we just had some unlucky rolls off the body,” Eagles’ head coach Scott Rogers said. “Other than that, it was pretty much 50-50.”
“Lanesville’s coach has been out of the game for a few years, but he does a good job getting his back lineup, and the players they have compete hard and are pretty solid,” Cougars’ skipper Marcus Burgher IV said. “We were doing certain things tonight in preparation for our first game in sectional next week, so it was a little trial and error.”
For much of the opening half, both sides played an evenly matched contest, though the Cougars had far more shots on goal than the Eagles. This discrepancy paid off in the 29th minute when sophomore Brandon Atkins broke the Cougars into the scoring column. Five minutes later, senior Gavin Wernert got a friendly bounce off the right sidebar past Eagles’ goalkeeper Gene Klusmeier to give the Cougars a 2-0 advantage going into halftime.
After being shut out in the first half, senior Maddex Miller broke the Eagles out of the scoring schnide when he connected on a shot just five minutes into the second half. That was all the offense the Eagles could muster as play on both sides returned to the scoreless duel of the match’s first half hour.
The Eagles had a number of chances to score the equalizer in the final minutes, but the Cougars’ defense remained steadfast as they held on for the 2-1 victory.
“Every player (Lanesville) has competed hard; they’re playing aggressively and being physical. They didn’t get a lot of scoring opportunities, but they were getting opportunities in dangerous positions for us, so I felt like they could get a goal anytime they wanted with how they were playing,” Burgher said. “We played a few guys early in the second half that didn’t play much, and they exploited that. As I’ve been telling my guys, whether you beat a team 2-1 or 7-0, it doesn’t make a difference because at the end of the game, it’s a win.”
“You could tell in the second half that they advanced and stepped it up and wanted the game, but we just couldn’t finish it off,” Rogers said.
While the Cougars conclude the regular season with a victory, the Eagles could do the same tonight when they host Salem at 6. Both teams will then wait out for the first round of sectional play before taking the field next Wednesday. The Cougars, who are competing in the 2A sectional at Providence, awaits the winner of the Charlestown-Scottsburg game for the first of two semi-final matches at 5 p.m. The Eagles, meanwhile, will travel to Trinity Lutheran in Seymour for 1A sectional action, where they will confront Austin in the second semifinal at 7 p.m.