CENTERVILLE — It was a hard-fought game where you hated to see either team lose, but in sports somebody has to lose and unfortunately it was not Northmont’s night Tuesday as the Thunderbolts lost 3-2 in the Southwest District Division I boys soccer sectional final at Centerville’s Magsig Middle School.
The game pitted Carroll Coach Scott Molfenter against Northmont Coach Bob Brown, who were teammates at Northmont. Molfenter played goalkeeper and Brown was a midfielder. They graduated from Northmont in 1986.
Both teams played their guts out and left everything they had on the field. It was a no holds barred battle between two talented teams.
Carroll, ranked No. 11 in the state and No. 2 in the area, took a 1-0 lead on a goal by Connor Osterholt. Northmont answered with a goal by Brandon Morton.
The Patriots took a 2-1 lead with 5:52 left in the first half on a controversial goal by Chris Moon. It appeared that Northmont keeper Ryan Tanto had smothered the ball. His arms were outstretched and the ball was beneath both hands, which should be ruled a dead ball. Moon flicked his leg and knocked the ball into the net but the field referee did not signal a goal. Fans assumed the goal was nullified as well as the scorekeeper, but about 30 seconds later the kick was ruled good and the scoreboard changed to reflect the goal.
Carroll increased its lead to 3-1 with 1:46 left in the half when Charlie Thompson scored off a corner kick.
Northmont turned up the heat in the second half moving more players up to attack the goal but the Patriots managed to dominate time of possession. Despite that the Thunderbolts still managed to make runs on the goal. Caden Cronebach scored with 9:12 remaining by sending a kick into the left side of the net past Carroll keeper Kade Greer to make it 3-2.
The Thunderbolts fought hard down the stretch but Carroll managed to keep the ball out of the goal to secure the close victory.
With the victory Carroll improves to 16-1-2 while Northmont ends its 2017 campaign with a record of 8-6-5. Carroll advances to district to face Anderson at 1 p.m. Saturday at Lakota West.
“Bob (Brown) and I graduated the same year, so the whole evening was weird playing Northmont,” Molfenter said. “Back then our big rival was Centerville, so having to play Northmont on Centerville’s field made the whole evening a little goofy for us. It was a great game. I hand it to both teams. It was exciting to watch. I told the kids at halftime that you can see the results Northmont has had all season because they have been coming back in their games to beat and tie some very good teams, so I told them that these guys aren’t going to stop shooting. You have to hand it to them for their effort and hand to our guys for bending but not breaking.”
Carroll, formerly a Division II school, made the jump to Division I this season based on its student enrollment figures and Molfenter said he anticipated the change would present challenges.
“I knew when we got back up into Division I it was going to be tough,” Molfenter added.
After the game Coach Brown met with his senior players to console them over the loss.
“This was a bit surreal for sure,” Brown said noting the situation of facing his former teammate on Centerville’s field. “I don’t think the score line was indicative of the play. They held the ball a little more than we did, but we had some chances that we should have tucked away. When it is all said and done someone has got to win and someone has got to lose. They are a good team. It sucks when you have a really good group of guys like this and they have to go out like this, but kudos to Scott and Carroll. They are a good team and they will represent the area well.”
Reach Ron Nunnari at 684-9124, via email Rnunnari@AimMediaMidwest.com or on Twitter @Englewood_Ind