Crawfordsville’s boys soccer team closed out the regular season with a solid 3-0 win over Danville.
The Athenians made a few adjustment and scored three second-half goals to close out the regular season 8-6. The Sagamore Conference victory also puts them at 4-3, good for fourth place.
The Warriors fall to 4-12 overall and 3-4 in the league.
The win was also a chance for both teams to start sectional prep, with both teams coming back to the Athenian Complex for a first-round game next Tuesday.
“We wanted to play well going into next week,” Crawfordsville coach Marcus Hale said. “I saw a lot of great things tonight. Our passing was crisp, and we had dynamic movement off the ball. You want to play well at the end of the season, and I thought we had good contributions from every player, whether he played five or 80 minutes. It’s the kind of effort you need and like.”
The two conference rivals pushed each other throughout the first half, and the Athenians pushed a few more times, but there was not a score at intermission.
That changed quickly in the second half.
“We started pressuring ourselves to score,” Hale noted. “We got more patient in the second half.”
That patience also included a big dose of No.9 for Crawfordsville.
Patrick Corado, who already owns the Crawfordsville single-season goals record, added a pair to his total.
He scored with 37:14 left on the second-half clock, on a gorgeous pass from Matt Miller.
The junior got his second goal of the match about 20 minutes later, rifling in a shot from a pass by Ryo Nishina.
He returned the favor with 9:48 left, as he feathered a pass to Nishina, who found the net.
“Give Crawfordsville a lot of credit,” Danville coach Vince Ganzberg said. “They made the adjustments, and we didn’t, or not in time. We new (Corado and Nishina) were coming - we just didn’t get them stopped. They are a good team, and Coach Hale is a great coach. We played very well for most of the first half, and the guys, just like all season, never stopped playing hard and competing. Crawfordsville is just a talented team.”
Athenians goalkeeper Alec Saidian turned in a clean sheet, stopping all seven Danville shots on goal. His defense in front of him did a nice job keeping the play a long way from his net. Crawfordsville peppered Warrior goalie James Beck with a dozen shots on goal.
Both teams used the end of the regular season to prepare for the postseason, which starts next Tuesday on the same pitch.
The Warriors play North Montgomery in the first match next Tuesday, starting at 5. The Athenians take on Southmont in the second match of the evening. The tournament starts Monday with Cascade and Monrovia playing a single match. Western Boone has a bye and will face that winner.
Both teams defeated their first-round opponent, so it isn’t out of the realm of possibilities that these two teams will play again next Wednesday, although both coaches emphasized their first round games.
“I’d love to get another shot at Crawfordsville, Ganzberg said, “but we only beat North Montgomery 1-0 and that is one well-coached team. It will be a battle.”
The Warriors were also without two starters Thursday and had another starter leave injured, but Ganzberg hopes to have all three back next week.
The Athenians and Mounties in the postseason is just what a fan loves and a coach worries about.
“It’s a county rival, its the sectional,” Hale said. “That’s more than enough. I fully expect a very competitive match with a lot of energy.”
The Athenians also had an injury, as Andrew Jones missed the second half with a tweaked ankle, but Hale said he expects the senior to be ready next week.
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