Not a single person in the crowd was ignorant to the implications of Tuesday night’s game under the lights at the Seymour High School soccer complex.
Both teams came into the match with perfect Hoosier Hills Conference records, and a win meant the chance to run the table.
Seymour’s boys soccer team made the most of its opportunity.
The Owls posted a 3-0 over Floyd Central last night, and can now determine their own fate in the quest for the HHC crown as they are the only team without a conference loss.
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Seymour (7-2, 4-0 HHC) wasted no time getting on the board.
Not even three minutes into the game, after navigating past a pair of defenders, Blaine Spivey grounded a cross to the center of the box to Daniel Hartman, who stood just 10 yards from the net. Hartman slotted his first touch and the ball spun in untouched, as the Owls lead 1-0 with 37:19 on the clock.
“It was a dream start,” Seymour coach Matt Dennis said. “You score in the firstminutes against a quality side like Floyd Central and you think it will be a good night. I think the guys took it a little easy after that, it looked like we were ready to defend for 77 minutes, which you can’t go. That second goal was key.”
Hartman added that second goal with 6:01 left in the first half.
On a penalty shot, taken after getting tripped from behind in the box, Hartman’s shot was saved by Highlanders keeper Dane Parker.
It didn’t matter.
Hartman followed the shot and used his left foot to chip the ball past Parker to put Seymour up 2-0.
At half, the Owls stayed up by two.
Out of the break, it took the Owls 37 seconds to score another goal.
A pass from Hartman found the feet of Tyler Penegar at the right corner of the box just out of intermission. Penegar took two dribbles and rifled a shot across his body to the far post to extend the Owls’ lead to 3-0.
The Highlanders made a mass substitution and pushed up the remainder of the match, but the Owls never faltered as they held on for the shutout victory.
SHS outshot Floyd 13-7 in the game, and Patrick DeBoor recorded eight saves in goal for the Owls.
Dennis said that while the team had a quality win, there is still more work to do.
“I told the boys at half that we hadn’t won anything yet,” he said. “After the game, I repeated that message. We are 4-0 in conference, but we have three more games. If they take this as ‘we have beaten the best two teams in the conference in Columbus East and Floyd,’ we’re in trouble. We need to make sure we also understand that in three weeks we are playing for sectionals, and we have to play these teams again. We need to make sure this is a beginning. We are not satisfied with 4-0 (in HHC play). Its not good enough unless it is 7-0.”
Seymour last won the HHC in 2016, which was also the first time the Owls solely claimed the HHC. They finished 6-1 in HHC play that year.
The Owls also tied for the HHC in 1998, ’01 and ’09.
Tuesday night’s win was the first for Dennis against Floyd Central.
The two goals by Hartman moved him even closer to a personal milestone. Boasting 54 goals on his career, he’s currently two scores short of tying the school record for a career with former Owl Nick Eddy.
The Owls will host Madison on Thursday for another HHC contest.
“I want to celebrate tonight because I think the boys deserve it,” Dennis said. “It’s a good feeling, but we have another game Thursday. The boys need to keep their heads on straight. Win or lose tonight, it was the same message: ‘We have to move forward.’ If they channel this excitement and energy into practices, I think we will be just fine come October.”