BY GREG FLINT
GREENCASTLE, Ind. —
Playing in the first regional contest in school history in the sport of soccer, Covington lost to Indianapolis George Washington by the score of 4-1.
The Trojans had never faced a team who played in the style of the Continentals and it showed early.
The team from Indianapolis used a “pedal-to-the-metal” attack, pushing forward with a very physical approach to the game that was aided by excellent ball-control skills.
Covington seemed stunned by this incessant attacking despite having been warned ahead of time by head coach Ryan Sowers.
The aggressive attack by Washington generated a goal in less than three minutes — even as the large, predominately Covington crowd was still pouring into the soccer complex.
For several minutes after the initial score, the Continentals continued to pressure the Trojan defense, but to no avail — which seemed to give Covington some confidence.
That confidence eventually led them to an attack that pulled the opposing keeper out of the net allowing David Messick to score off a pass from Damon Hegg to tie the game 1-all at the 20-minute mark.
The tie lasted only three minutes before Washington put a shot in the goal to regain the lead. They would add another just four minutes before half time to lead 3-1 at intermission.
Sowers did not reveal the contents of his speech to the team during the break, but did say that his team changed a few things.
“We came out more physical than in the first half,” he said, “We controlled the middle better and we got more shots.”
The changes helped Covington play a stronger second half, spending much more time in the Continental’s end than before. The Trojans’ play also forced their opponent into relying more on long passes than the steady build up they had used in the first half.
Washington did manage to score another goal in the second half to make it 4-1. Covington had twice as many shots in the second half as they did in the first, but could not get one past the Continental’s keeper.
Sowers called Washington the best team he had seen in his eight years at Covington as player or coach. That spans almost half the 20 years that the Trojans have had a soccer team, so it is quite a complement to Washington.
It is also quite a complement to his team as they adjusted their game as the contest progressed.
It was that adjusting that pleased Sowers the most about the play of his team.
“Our defense kept us in the game and our adjustments, especially in the second half, put pressure on them,” he said.
He explained further, “That’s why this team grew so well this year. They were willing to change into doing something that made them better. They might not have wanted to do it, but they did it for the team.”
Sowers summed up the year by saying, “It was a great season for us. We went 9-5-1 and won our first sectional. This is a season for the seniors to be proud of and for the underclassmen to build on.”
Greg Flint is a freelance writer for the Commercial-News. You can contact him at email@example.com