Cougars rally, fall short to Bulldogs
MONROVIA -- North Putnam scored two goals with less than four minutes to play, but its comeback ran out of time in a 4-3 loss to Monrovia in a West Central Conference boys soccer match Wednesday on the Bulldogs' field.
"I wish we'd played like we did in the last five minutes the entire game," Cougars' coach David Moeller said. "We pushed forward at the end. We should have been playing like that the whole game.
"But I'm pretty happy. We played pretty well, had a good performance and we can carry that momentum from the last few minutes into the playoffs."
The match was the regular season finale for the Cougars (2-10-2, 0-3 WCC), who play Covington in the opening round of the 1A sectional at West Vigo on next Wednesday starting at 7 p.m.
Monrovia's game-winning goal, giving it a 4-1 lead with 13:25 to play, was attached with good luck for the Bulldogs and misfortune for the Cougars.
Rowan Gast-Bray's looping shot from 25 yards from the left side hit a North Putnam defender in a crowd a few yards in front the goal and popped over the head of goalkeeper Bailey Allen into the net.
"It was a deflection, a defensive goal," Moeller said.
North Putnam played solid defense.
"I think we limited Monrovia's opportunities to score," Moeller said. "We forced them to take shots from farther out. Jacob Hendershot played well and Nick Kauffman marked 10 (Monrovia top scorer Zach Langlais) and limited his opportunities."
Monrovia's first two goals went through the hands of freshman Allen.
The first, by Connor Stader, was a ripped line drive from 20 yards out that Allen had to try to stop with an over-the-head catch. Stader's goal came with 17:35 left in the first half.
Monrovia's second goal was by Beren Gast-Bray, who turned on a shot from 15 yards in the center of the field and blasted it on the ground past the reaching Allen.
"Bailey Allen is a freshman and those were tough to stop," Moeller said. "Bailey made some good saves in the game."
Zach Hunter scored North Putnam's first goal with 2:46 left in the first half from three yards out front following a well-placed corner kick by Taylor Zaring.
Langlais scored his 18th goal of the season and 28th of his career with a 20-yard shot from center-left field that curved away from Allen and went into the left side of the net with 24:53 to play.
Rowan Gast-Bray's goal put North Putnam behind, 4-1.
Brady Woods scored for the Cougars with a hard-hit shot from 20 yards out with 3:19 remaining to cut their deficit to 4-2.
North Putnam put a couple of good passes together to get the ball to Bennett Hazelgrove on a breakaway and he drove it past Monrovia goalkeeper Billy Andrews from 10 yards out on the right side with 2:12 left.
With Monrovia focusing completely on defense, the Cougars didn't get another shot at the goal.
North Putnam 1 2 -- 3
Monrovia 2 2 -- 4
M -- Stader at 17:35.
M -- B. Gast-Bray at 12:34.
NP-- Hunter at 2:46.
M -- Langlais at 24:53
M -- R. Gast-Bray at 13:25
NP -- Woods at 3:19
NP -- Hazelgrove at 2:12