LAKEVILLE, IN. – Not even LaVille coach Justin Christy had ever witnessed a soccer match quite like Monday’s IHSAA Class 1A#34 first round match against Washington Township.
The match went to halftime tied at 1-1, but it was a massive scoring borage that left Christy both scratching his head and smiling after LaVille won a thrilling 4-3 decision over the Senators at Newton Park.
“I have never seen this before,” said Christy. “It was bang, bang, bang one right after the other. I don’t know what caused it. You can go 40 minutes or 80 minutes and no score. But tonight it was one team scores, then the other scores. Back to back. It was pretty crazy.”
LaVille’s first scoring opportunity came in the sixth minute off a deep throw-in. A pair of Lancers
Mason Girst put LaVille on the board first off a free kick from the right wing in the seventh minute. The shot by Girst soared just over the outstretched arm of Washington Township goalie Charlie Schmidgall and snuggled into the left corner of the net to give the Lancers a 1-0 lead.
Washington Township, however, would score quickly as Spencer Moore snuck the ball past Lancer goalie Tommy Goze’s right hand in the eighth minute.
The two teams battled for field position over the next 24 minutes until Washington Township’s Caden Mason launched a free kick ball toward the LaVille goal. Goze timed his leap at just the right moment to snag the ball from just off the cross bar and pick up a stop for the LaVille defense with 7:25 left before halftime.
LaVille gained the advantage again when Austin Dove took a pass from Ethan Yoder, dribbled a bit to settle the ball and found the net to give the Lancers a 2-1 lead in the 44th minute.
Just when it looked like LaVille might gain back the momentum from back in the first half, Mason of Washington Township took a pass from Moore, dribbled toward the goal and kicked high enough to beat the outstretched arms of Goze to tie the match at 2-2 in the 45th minute.
After back-and-forth-action for the next 12 minutes, Dove dribbled deep into Senator territory, entered the box and set to strike the ball before a penalty was whistled against Washington Township. Blythe Hammett calmly set the ball down, waited for the whistle, and then nestled the ball in the right mid corner of the goal as the Lancers took a 3-2 lead at the 57th minute.
This time instead of allowing the Senators to return strike quickly, LaVille found a way to up the ante. Dove settled a pass from Logan Plummer, dribbled into the goalie box and ripped a shot that sunk in to the back of the net to give LHS a 4-2 lead in the 65th minute.
Washington Township would not quit. The Senators went to reliable Caden Mason for a sharp strike to narrow the gap to 4-3 at the 66th minute.
The final minutes found the LaVille defense to be stingy enough to overcome WT’s final pepper shots at the goal to secure the victory and move opposite Morgan Township in the October 9 semifinal at 6 p.m.
The second semifinal will pit Marquette Catholic against Westville at around 8 p.m.
“Our defense played outstanding,” concluded Christy. “We controlled the ball for the most part. Ethan Yoder getting through balls. Blythe Hammett played outstanding in the back. He collected it and got it up field. Then he hit the PK to go up 3-2.”
And what exactly was the difference in this match? Christy simply said: “One has to win and one has to lose. Both teams played outstanding. They played hard and they played fast. They would go down, then bang, bang they would come right back. Our touches were pretty good tonight.”
IHSAA CLASS 1A SECTIONAL #34
LaVille 4, Washington Township 3
LV – Mason Girst, 7th minute
WT – Spencer Moore, 8th minute
LV – Austin Dove, 44th minute
WT – Caden Mason, 45th minute
LV – Blythe Hammett (PK), 57th minute
LV – Dove, 65th minute
WT – Mason 66th minute
Shots On Goal: LaVille 10, Washington Township 8
Corner Kicks: LaVille 4, Washinton Township 0
Goalie Saves: LaVille (Goze) 5, Washington Township (Schmidgall) 6