After Thursday night’s 2-1 loss to New Albany, Seymour coach Matt Dennis said a repeat Hoosier Hills Conference title was out of the question.
Now, he states, it’s time to work toward building a strong team for sectional play.
Dennis’ team displayed some tremendous toughness and resiliency in the second half against the Bulldogs, who led for much of the game. A late first-half goal by New Albany put them up 1-0 with 15 seconds left in the opening 40 minutes.
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In the second half, Isaac Schafer finally found the equalizer for the Owls with 15 minutes to go in the game.
Shooting from the right to the left, it looked as though Schafer was simply trying to put the ball into the box but instead found the back of the net with his nifty shot.
Putting the ball into dangerous areas was something Dennis was imploring his team to do throughout the first half. He thought they had an advantage with their front three over New Albany’s keeper and center backs and they could exploit that advantage for some easy goals.
On a few occasions, when the Owls were in their attacking third, they tried to send the ball through the middle, but it would bounce harmlessly in the box and was cleared by the Bulldog defense.
There were a myriad of reasons why the ball didn’t get scored, Dennis said.
“In the first half, we were trying to make sure we put it on our strong foot or had the best look possible or make sure the guy was ready in the middle, and so there wasn’t a lot of service there,” he said. “So I told the guys at halftime, ‘Let’s just put the ball in the box and see what happens.'”
That philosophy is what led to Schafer’s equalizer.
Yet, the tie was quickly snapped just five minutes later after a poor decision, Dennis said, led to the Bulldogs’ Hayden Krebs getting loose and scoring the go-ahead goal.
Still winless in the league, the Owls are in a bit of new position.
Around mid-September last season, the Owls had already netted five HHC wins on the year en route to the league title.
Dennis declined to compare this year’s team to the 2018 edition but did say every year offers its own unique individuals and challenges and the team will continue to get better as the season progresses.
The Owls host Oldenburg Academy at 12:30 p.m. Saturday for their next game.