NEW MARKET — Emmett Bowman scored a goal in the 65th minute to lift Crawfordsville past Southmont 1-0 in boys’ soccer on Thursday night.
The Athenians (4-0, 2-0 SAC) entered the game with 26 goals in three games, but a defensive game plan kept the Mounties (0-2, 0-1) in it all the way to the final horn.
“They had a good game plan, and we eventually broke through,” Crawfordsville coach Marcus Hale said. “We know county match-ups, it’s going to be tough. They’ve got a lot of kids that are playing club and they’ve got a great program. The ball is not always going to go into the back of the net and we’ve got to be able to play in games like that. This will probably not be the last game we play in where it will be challenging.”
Crawfordsville managed 15 shots in the first half, but just five on goal — all of which were saved by Mountie goalkeeper Rylan Gayler — who anchored a strong back-line for Southmont.
“Couldn’t be more proud of him,” Southmont coach Stephanie Kennedy said of Gayler. “He’s coming from our back-up, where he didn’t get a lot of minutes last year and losing our starting goalkeeper, it was a big deal for him to come in and step up and super proud of him,”
Gayler’s counterpart in Crawfordsville senior Landon Timmons, had limited chances in the goal with five saves — but used his aggression to help stave off desparation attempts by the Mounties in the final minutes.
“He’s been playing in goal since his freshman year, so he’s got a lot of game experience playing in tough games. Some games that have gone well, some that have not,” Hale said. “He kind of talked to the team about what to expect before the game and we got it. We knew what we were getting ourselves into playing a county school.”
Hale attributes the slow start offensively to not only a good game plan for Southmont, but a lack of training on artificial turf this season, which allows the ball to travel faster and farther. And it took the whole team to buckle down and give the offense a chance to win it in the second half.
“It’s the whole team,” Hale said. “The whole team has to defend at a high level in games like this. I think Marshall Horton, Thristan Callejas, Esteban Moreno, and Joseph Sanchez — we kind of rotated the four of them through and I think worked well. It was a bit challenging, but at the same time they kept the work rate pretty high, which is important.”
The tight match-up comes a season after the Athenians dominated the Mounties 9-1. And while Crawfordsville is a heavy favorite to once again be Tri-West’s top challenger in the Sagamore Conference — Southmont has its bar set high.
“I was kind of speechless with them,” Kennedy said. “1-0 coming from a 9-1 loss is a big deal. That was a rough game for us last year, so playing this complete game and having everybody in the right mindset and just going at it. Even after they scored, not a single one of them dropped their head.
“We took a loss the other day, and between both games we’ve played a full 80 minutes. I wished for that all last year. We only played those halves, so being 0-0 at the half this time last year, they would have just went downhill. So ending in a 1-0 against a team like that, super proud of them.”