BOONE GROVE | Boone Grove adjusted its style of play in a rematch with Kouts on Saturday afternoon and the host Wolves cashed in with different results.
Boone Grove blanked the Mustangs 3-0 for a Class A Sectional crown, the second overall title for the program. The Wolves meet the LaVille Sectional champion in Wednesday's semifinals of the LaVille Regional.
Kouts (12-5-1) edged the Wolves 3-2 on Sept. 12, and Boone Grove coach Brian Sherwin impressed on his team that they must take a different approach.
"Last time, we played on our heels," said Sherwin, who was also the coach when Boone won its first sectional crown in 1999. "We played panicked.
"We needed to be more aggressive."
Sophomore forward Cameron Varlan took charge on a long, high-arching ball, beating Kouts goalie Jon Frame to the mark and sliding a shot into the open net to give Boone (8-8-1) a 1-0 lead at 28:28.
"It wasn't a through ball," Sherwin said. "He just made a quick, aggressive play."
Varlan didn't feel rushed with his strategy.
"It was like slo-mo," he said. "I knew I had to get to the ball, then I took (the ball) to the side and got around (Frame).
"I was pretty pumped up, and that got us going."
Even with the wind in their face, the Wolves added two more goals in the second half. Senior midfielder Clifford Goodfellow followed in a deflected shot by senior forward Jim Buchanan and hammered in a shot off Frame in the 72nd minute. Senior midfielder Juan Garcia took a short pass from freshman midfielder Brad Kaminsky and made it 3-0 with 4:23 left in the game.
Boone Grove's defense also helped by keeping Kouts' offense in check. Freshman goalie Nathan Miller made four saves, and he received a lot of help from senior sweeper Chris Vasquez.
"He's a rock back there," Sherwin said of Vasquez. "With a freshman keeper, it's important to have a solid defense."
Kouts coach Robert Dowhen was also impressed with the Wolves' defense. The Mustangs had five shots on goal – just one in the first half.
"Boone did their homework," he said. "They cut off (our) open spacing – and that was it.
"We still had a great season."