By John Regruth
For the Tribune
Hot, humid weather and a tough opponent made for a long afternoon for Seymour’s boys soccer team on Saturday. Class 3A No. 19 Center Grove scored two second-half goals, converting a tied game into a comfortable 3-1 victory over the Owls.
The loss dropped Seymour to 6-4-2 on the season and ended a busy 10-day period in which the Owls played five games. Head coach Matt Dennis’ team went 3-2 during that stretch.
“We played as hard as we could,” Dennis said after Saturday’s game. “Not to make excuses, but a fifth game in 10 days is tough, especially in this heat. Our players gave me everything I could ask for in terms of effort.”
Center Grove (6-4-2) controlled possession for much of the game and put continuous pressure on Seymour’s goal. The Trojans ended with a 16-3 advantage in shots on goal and earned 15 corner kicks. Seymour, on the other hand, didn’t take a corner during the contest.
A tap-in goal by Cody Hewitt on an assist by Caden York in the 22nd minute of the first half gave Center Grove a 1-0 lead.
Seymour equalized 14 minutes later when senior Mauricio Aragon capitalized on a mishandled ball by Center Grove goalie Caiden Stoneburner. Aragon collected the errant ball and sent it into the goal from the right side.
“That goal was the result of us pressing high,” Dennis said. “Our forwards start our defense. High school kids make mistakes, so why not press and see if they make a mistake? The goalkeeper bobbled the ball because he was under duress from Mauricio, and Mauricio was able to benefit from that.”
Seymour had two more chances in the first half, the first coming when an open Oliver Kardos launched a shot from the top of the penalty box after being fed by teammate Will Cottrill. Kardos’ shot was saved by CG’s Stoneburner.
Later, senior Gabe Baker’s free kick from 30 yards bounced off the left post and eluded the reach of Casey Regruth before the Trojans were able to clear the ball.
Mostly, however, Saturday’s match was about defense for the Owls. Goalkeeper Will Smith finished with six saves. Seymour’s back line of Baker, Regruth, Luke Reasoner, Sam Chandler, Logan Westfall and Brody Unterseher battled a relentless Center Grove attack.
“I thought, defensively, we were pretty organized,” Dennis said. “We did a nice job. Nothing to hang our head about defensively. Will (Smith) was huge today. Without him, they score a few more. He does an excellent job back there.”
Looking ahead, Seymour faces a much less hectic schedule, with its final three regular-season games spread over the next 14 days. The Owls’ next match is Thursday at Hoosier Hills Conference rival Jennings County.
“We have three more games to figure some stuff out before we go play for trophies,” Dennis said. “We’ve got two big conference games coming up that we need to, one, win because it’s conference and, two, to better prepare us for the sectional.”