PORTER TOWNSHIP | The first game of the Class A Boone Grove Sectional in boys soccer is now in line to be the second one completed, due to darkness in Monday's opener between Kouts and Hebron.
Kouts took 16 shots on Monday night but could not get on the board against the Hawks. Darkness suspended the game after regulation ended in a scoreless tie.
Overtime will be played on Wednesday at 4 p.m. and the winner will immediately face Morgan Township for the right to play in Saturday’s championship.
Monday’s match was highly competitive despite a lopsided stat card. Countering Kouts’ 16 shots, Hebron freshman keeper Zach Porter made eight saves.
The Hawks took only six shots but possessed the ball for much of the second half, continually putting pressure on the Kouts defense. Cody Nelson made one save for the Mustangs.
Now, the pressure will be on for both teams Wednesday afternoon.
“In any soccer match, it’s always hard to get started strong. We’ve only got seven minutes now, so both teams really have to focus on starting strong,” Kouts head coach Tim Schwartz said. “That’s not a long time in soccer to get something done.”
On Monday, 90 minutes wasn’t enough time for either team to get anything done. Both teams missed opportunities, but the misplays by Kouts stuck out more.
With just minutes remaining until halftime, the Mustangs were unable to capitalize on a pair of free kicks from about 35 yards out. The first, a shot by Jesse Crider, was caught on the fly by Porter. Dennis Deardruff crossed the second chance into the box, but it was headed out by his own teammate.
With just under 15 minutes remaining in the second half, Kouts had a point-blank scoring chance but Porter made a save that clanged off the cross bar and over the goal.
Neither coach thought there would be a hangover effect from Monday’s misses.
“We are going to push it and if we have the chance to score, we are going to score.” Hebron head coach Zeljko Mijatovic said.
“Both team are going to come out just the same,” Schwartz said. “Both teams are going to have opportunities. Both teams are going to be dangerous and really up for it, so it will be an exciting finish.”