Owls struggle early in boys contest



he Seymour boys soccer team didn’t start its second game of the season the way they wanted.

Giving up two goals in the first 14 minutes of play, the Owls couldn’t make the uphill climb the rest of the match in a 4-0 loss at Providence on Saturday.

At the 38:20 mark, the Pioneers netted their first score when Braden Rainier slid in a short-range score off an assist from Michael Gill.

Rainier added another point for his team at 26:32 from an assist by Isaac Coker.

Following the second goal, the Owls started playing their game.

“Early in the game, it wasn’t anything tactical. I told the kids at halftime they weren’t more skilled than us,” Owls coach Matt Dennis said. “What happened was they communicated better and played with more heart than us in the first 20 minutes. After that, we played our game. The second 20 minutes, we played more in our favor.”

Following intermission, the Pioneers extended their lead when Rainier scored his third goal for a hat trick through finishing an airborne cross by Blake Huber from 8 yards out at 35:29.

Owls senior Kyle Jones nearly cut the deficit on a free kick from 25 yards, but the shot just sailed over the crossbar following the Pioneers’ third score.

At 29:25, Jones was issued a controversial red card after he and another Pioneers midfielder hit the turf toward center field.

Jones wasn’t issued a yellow card prior to the red, and both the Seymour and Providence sidelines disagreed with the official’s ruling.

The red card will prohibit Jones from playing in the Owls’ home-opener.

According to the IHSAA’s website, “the situations surrounding red cards are dealt with directly under the IHSAA bylaws and the NFHS soccer rules and will not change.”

The Owls were forced to play with 10 men the rest of the game.

“We started the second half in a great way and were unlucky to give up the third goal,” Dennis said. “After the red card, there’s nothing you can do about that with 10-on-11.”

With 24:51 remaining in the game, Kevin Chrisco delivered the Pioneers’ final goal by poking in a shot in the box.

The Owls, who play their home games at Freeman Field, played their game on a turf field that also is used for football.

Dennis said he felt his team adjusted well to the fast, slick conditions.

“I think our guys are awesome on turf because we’re a possession-based team and we play to feet,” Dennis said. “We just didn’t do that in the first 20 minutes. I think that if we had played our game the first 20 minutes, the outcome would have been different. (The score) 4-0 is not indicative of the result we should have had.”

So far this season, the Owls have used both senior Austin Hatfield and sophomore Elliott Clark as keepers.

The two have mostly split time between the posts this season, and the Owls are glad to have a pair of strong goalies.

At 24:51 in the second half Saturday, Clark replaced Hatfield.

Hatfield finished with two saves, and Clark amassed three.

The Pioneers outshot the Owls 17-6 on the morning.

“There’s competition every day in practice to decide who’s going to start,” Dennis said. “They have both played in each game. We’re not entirely sure who’s going to start (Tuesday).”

Tuesday, the Owls (1-1) will host Columbus East in a Hoosier Hills Conference matchup.

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