Owls fall to Bull Dogs in sectional semifinals

For the second time in eight days, the Columbus North boys soccer team got the best of Seymour.

Behind four goals by junior Alex McGill, the Bull Dogs (13-5-1) punched their ticket to Saturday’s Seymour Sectional championship by defeating the Owls 5-0 Wednesday at the Seymour High School soccer complex.

On the first shot attempt of the game, in the fourth minute, McGill rifled a shot from 10 yards past Owls keeper Elliott Clark to the far post to put the Bull Dogs on the scoreboard.

The Owls’ Evan Baurle got loose and fired a shot just inside the 18-yard box, but it was pushed out by North’s Noah Kestler in the 27th minute.

Seymour (13-4-1) was able to get the corner kick in the box, but North’s back line cleared the ball immediately.

Kestler came up with another big save for the Bull Dogs in the 32nd minute, collecting a 30-yard free kick on the goal by the Owls’ Cole Fosbrink.

Neither team would find the back of the net before the halftime whistle. In the first 40 minutes, much of the action took place in the middle third of the field.

In the 46th minute, McGill tallied his second goal of the night by dribbling down the left side of the field 20 yards, beating an Owls defender and Clark and firing a contested shot from just inside the box to the far post.

McGill broke loose in the 50th minute to secure a hat trick by scooting a shot past Clark from within five yards.

“The second goal came quickly, and it was at that moment when we made a tactical adjustment,” Seymour coach Matt Dennis said. “While we made that adjustment, they scored their third goal. We stayed with extra guys up top from there trying to get something.”

North added another score in the 61st minute, as Finn Anderson found Graham Keele wide on the left side of the box for a goal toward the far post.

McGill headed a loose ball off of a corner kick into the back of the net to extend the Bull Dogs lead to 5-0 in the 73rd minute.

The game out of reach, the clock ran down as the Bull Dogs secured the win.

“Whenever you go away from your usual tactics, using the same tactics for 17 games, it’s not going to go well,” Dennis said. “It’s not because of what the boys did. It’s because of what I tried to do as a coach trying to find that extra goal. They still fought hard, and you can’t argue with their effort tonight.”

Unofficially, the Bull Dogs outshot the Owls 11-7 in the game with Clark grabbing six saves and Keslter snagging two.

Clark, Zach Moore, Brayan Morales, Charlie Galyen, Ethan Greene and Carter Wait all graduate from the Seymour program.

“I think this senior class had the most wins for any senior class over the past 18 years,” Dennis said. “They were a big part of the success we’ve been having here. I think you see a ton of respect between our guys. I think this junior class is looking at the senior class and thinking that this is what they need to be next year. They’re tremendous leaders, and we’re going to miss them more than they will ever know.

“It has been a great year. I’ve had a pleasure coaching these boys.”

On Saturday, North will play Columbus East at 2 p.m. for the championship title.

East defeated Jennings County 4-0 in the early game Wednesday.