By Jeff Nelson
Western Boone will advance to the boys soccer sectional championship for the third straight season with a 3-2 semifinal win over Southmont.
The Mounties’ season ends at 3-14 while the Stars record moves to 7-6-2. WeBo will take on Crawfordsville in the sectional championship game Saturday. It will also be the third straight title matchup against the Athenians, who have won the previous two.
“It was a hard-fought match,” Stars’ head coach Marco Ramirez said. “We were a little sloppy with some possessions, but we never gave up and we played good defense.”
The momentum of the match changed direction as often as the soccer ball did.
South scored the first goal of the game with 34:05 left in the first half when Camron Mason found the net on an assist from Travis Michael.
The Stars responded five minutes later when Jared Michalke took a pass from Miles Clutter and evened the score.
The Mounties had a goal taken away at the 24:22 mark of the first half when Mason’s score on a corner kick from Race Olinger was called off.
“The ref called a foul, that’s what we were told,” Mounties coach Brandon Rash said.
The 1-1 score stood through halftime, and the Stars got their first lead of the night with 31:10 left in the second half when Jack Fortner scored on a free kick, threading through several South defenders and past goal keeper Ryan Stanley.
The Mounties responded with a highlight-reel goal at the 22:02 mark, when Mason’s free kick from 50 yards away bent around the corner of the net.
“The Stars took the 3-2 lead with 10:48 left in the match when a corner kick started a rebound battle. Ben Wheatley got a pass off to Adam Glidewell, who found an opening for the score.
South had one last heartbreak at the 6:45 mark when a Cole Wemer header literally at the goal mouth bounced off the upright and into the hands of Stars goal keeper Patrick Bagwell.
“We really came together late in the season,” Rash said. “We have worked so hard at practice on positive thinking and attitudes. That is what we have to take into the offseason.”
Stars goal keeper Patrick Bagwell stopped eight Southmont shots, while WeBo had nine total shots.
“He (Bagwell) kept us in the game,” Ramirez said of his senior keeper.
The Stars and Athenians championship matchup is scheduled for a 7 p.m. start Saturday at Crawfordsville High School.
“We played the first match of the season,” Ramirez said of the 3-2 Crawfordsville win back in August. “Both teams have grown a lot and changed a lot, but we know each other from years of playing each other.”