In the opening round of the Terre Haute North Sectional, the Greencastle boys' varsity team looked like the West Central Conference Champions Monday night, shutting out North Knox, 2-0. With the defense holding strong throughout the game, the Tiger Cubs were able to thwart any serious North Knox attack and advance in the Terre Haute North Sectional.
"I thought we did a pretty nice job. Obviously, in the back we did a good job," coach Tom Ball said. "We only gave up one shot in the goal in the first half which is fantastic."
Both teams came out with a lot of energy early, with the ball moving back and forth down the field. Greencastle was making good passes to get the ball down the field, but struggled to find the net.
"Offensively, I thought we were moving the ball pretty well," Ball said. "We did give ourselves some opportunities to score, but we're not finishing quite as well as I'd like us to."
Patrick Eiteljorge put Greencastle on the board with just 2:49 remaining in the half, giving the Tiger Cubs a 1-0 lead. Eiteljorge followed up on a hard Jake Berry shot that deflected off the North Knox goalie for the score. It was the first serious attempt at the North Knox goal, giving Greencastle momentum going into the second half.
"Particularly, in the first half we did just not challenge the keeper," Ball said. "We had a number of shots where all he had to do was step forward and make the save. We've got to make the guy move his feet, get on the ground and show us that he can make a save."
The Tiger Cubs came back in the second half looking like a revitalized team on offense. The midfielders were making plays to get the ball downfield, and Greencastle was firing off shots on the North Knox goalkeeper. Ball was happy to see the changes.
"In the second half, I thought we did a better job of pressuring the keeper and making him make tough saves," Ball said.
J.D. Sims scored the second goal of the game on an assist from Mischa Serlin with 16:40 remaining in the second half. The goal was more than what the Tiger Cubs would need, as the backfield trio of Ben Fisher, Mark Jedele and Joel Bottom acted like a brick wall, refusing to let anything get to the goalkeeper.
In particular, Ball was impressed with junior Bottom's effort.
"I think Joel Bottom has stood out all season long. He's just a very solid back," he said. "He's just a big strong kid and he's got good speed and good ball skills. I thought he did a really nice job for us."
Ball said he also liked what he saw from sophomore Pat Martin at midfield. Although the offense only scored two goals, he thought Martin helped put them in a good position throughout the contest.
"I thought Pat Martin did a really good job in the midfield setting people up, giving us some opportunities offensively," he said.
The Tiger Cubs now move on to face Terre Haute North Saturday at 10 a.m. at Terre Haute North. Greencastle defeated the Patriots earlier in the season, 1-0, however Ball knows it will be a tough matchup. The Tiger Cubs will have their work cut out for them this week.
"I would say the biggest thing is we need to work on putting the ball in the net more frequently," Ball said. "We played Terre Haute North in the middle of the season. We beat them one-nill, but we probably had opportunities to put the ball in the net more than that. I think we have to do that."
At Terre Haute North Sectional
Greencastle 1 1 -- 2
North Knox 0 0 -- 0
Greencastle -- Eiteljorge unassisted (2:49).
Greencastle -- Sims from Serlin (16:40).
Next match -- Greencastle plays Terre Haute North Saturday at 10 a.m. at Terre Haute North.