LAPORTE | Corner kicks came by the bushels for Portage in the LaPorte Sectional championship versus the host Slicers.
The Times No. 5 Indians took 13 corners Saturday night, and took advantage of their opportunities late for a 2-1 win. Portage advances to play Culver Academy in Wednesday's semifinals of the Valparaiso Regional.
Senior Brendon Swindle made all 13 attempts , which led to a pair of assists. Portage (13-4-1) knotted the game when his corner from the right side made its way to Donovan Cole, who slid in a shot at 49:13. On his final attempt for the night -- this time from the left side -- Swindle sent a cross to the back post and Ricardo Silva slammed home the go-ahead goal at 61:18.
"Every time I take one, I feel I'm getting better and better," said Swindle, who attempted 10 corners in a 4-0 semifinal win over Michigan City. "I had a lot of corners, but not that many more than usual."
Portage pressured LaPorte's defense the entire 80 minutes, but the Indians were held scoreless in the first half.
"We did a great job of keeping it on their end, but we couldn't score," Portage coach Todd Strom said. "We just weren't getting dangerous chances."
To make things worse, the Slicers (9-8-1) took advantage of one of their few scoring opportunities to take the lead. Zach McCoy was tackled inside the 18-yard line on one attack, which led to penalty kick at 27:10. McCoy converted for the 1-0 lead.
"That was a little bit of a letdown," Strom said. "We talked at halftime, and I felt like we woke up (in the second half)."
The title is the six in the program's history and second in a row. Swindle was just happy to see the team rise to the occasion.
"We knew we definitely had to do something," he said. "We wanted to make it home with the trophy."