After defeating Terre Haute North, 1-0, earlier in the season, the Greencastle boys' soccer team could not get the job done in the sectional semifinal Saturday. The Tiger Cubs lost 1-0, in a hard-fought battle that saw 80 minutes of two teams fighting for every last breath.
Although Greencastle's effort fell short, in reflection, assistant coach David Lilly did not have any complaints about the season.
"It was a really good season," he said. "We think we're going to be equally as strong. We've got a lot of guys returning next year. At this point, we're looking to next year."
The match went scoreless until 20:08 remaining in the second half, when Terre Haute North was awarded a penalty kick for a hand ball in the box. The Patriots' Anthony Cuthbertson stepped up, just barely getting the ball by Greencastle's Evan Staley in the goal.
"It was an unfortunate call that gave them the penalty kick," Lilly said. "We can dispute it, but it was called and it's not going to take it back."
Until then, the game was played consistently in the middle of the field. Both teams' defenders were thwarting all offensive efforts, keeping the ball away from the opposing goalkeeper. Although the match was scoreless, Lilly felt the Tiger Cubs had the advantage.
"It's unfortunate the season ends like that," he said. "We outplayed them, even though it was 0-0 at that point."
The defensive wall of Ben Fisher, Joel Bottom, Mark Jedele and Riley Beck kept Greencastle in the game. The unit was stopping the Terre Haute North offensive attack from success. Unfortunately for the Tiger Cubs, the Terre Haute North defense was just as effective.
"I think consistently through the year, we've played very good defense," Lilly said. "Our backs have always been very solid."
Although the Tiger Cubs came short, Lilly still thought his team played well.
"I think we played a good, team game today," he said. "Everybody was playing pretty solid."
Lilly said he would have liked to see the match go into overtime, as Greencastle might have been able to defeat the Patriots.
"I think our advantage would have been in playing some overtime periods," he said. "We've got a really deep time. By our numbers and substitutions, I think we were wearing them down."
Greencastle hit another bump in the road with 16:10 remaining in the match. Head coach Tom Ball was ejected for arguing a call.
From there, Greencastle's successful season slowly started to wind down. The Tiger Cubs won the first West Central Conference in the school's history this season, after defeating Speedway, 2-1.
Although Greencastle said goodbye to a solid group of seniors that made their mark in school history, Lilly knows a new group will be back to compete next season.
"We've got some young guys coming up and a good group of sophomores and juniors," he said. "With another year of maturity, they're going to get bigger, faster and stronger."
At Terre Haute North
Greencastle 0 0 -- 0
Terre Haute North 0 1 -- 1
Terre Haute North -- Anthony Cuthbertson penalty kick (16:10)