CRAWFORDSVILLE -- Crawfordsville boys' soccer coach Jim Kochert cautioned his players to take nothing for granted as they began their quest for a fifth straight sectional title on Thursday.
In the sectional semifinals, Crawfordsville faced a North Putnam team it defeated 10-1 during the regular season. Last year, however, the Athenians defeated North Putnam 8-0 during the regular season, then only 2-0 at sectionals.
Crawfordsville got another challenge from North Putnam on Thursday. The Athenians rebounded from a 2-1 halftime deficit to beat the Cougars 3-2 and advance to Saturday's sectional championship against North Montgomery. The Chargers defeated Southmont 3-1 in Thursday's first semifinal.
"We played them a lot better than we did in the first game," said North Putnam coach David Moeller, whose team finished the season 6-9. "I thought we had a chance to win this game. Our guys played hard and never gave up. We were just a little unlucky."
The Cougars were unable to contain the Athenian senior tandem of Matt Mummert and Cole Priebe. Mummert assisted on two Priebe goals in the second half -- the last one being the game-winner with 8:41 remaining.
"Eventually on offense we found a way to penetrate and attack their defense," said Crawfordsville coach Jim Kochert, whose team improved to 13-4. "Matt and Cole just have a great understanding and always seem to know where each other is going to be."
Mummert scored on a penalty kick with 21 minutes remaining in the opening half and finished the game with one goal and two assists.
"He is just a great player and is very intelligent," Moeller said. "He has been that way every year we have played them, and I'm glad he's graduating."
After Mummert's penalty kick, North Putnam senior Chandler Meyer scored breakaway goals at the 20 and 14 minute marks to put the Cougars up 2-1 at halftime. Meyer only had one more shot attempt in the game.
"At halftime, I don't make any big speeches or motivational talks," Kochert said. "We just talk about the things that happened in the first half and change things accordingly in the second half. We just made some minor defensive adjustments."
Sophomore Ryan Raupp made nine saves for the Cougars.
Crawfordsville 3, N. Putnam 2
North Putnam 2 0 -- 2
Crawfordsville 1 2 -- 3