TIPTON — Northwestern’s boys soccer team withstood the top-ranked team in Class A for the entire first half, then kept Guerin Catholic at bay for the a long stretch of the second half.
But Northwestern couldn’t keep the Golden Eagles off the scoreboard all night. Guerin pounced on a crack in the defense in the 59th minute, then never let Northwestern get back into the action.
Guerin went on to score a 2-0 victory in the championship game of the Class A Tipton Regional on Saturday night to take a spot in the semistate.
The Eagles (15-2-3) showed calmness on the ball at all positions and fast, efficient play in eliminating No. 11 Northwestern (16-4-1). It was a very different game than when Guerin took a 4-3 victory over Northwestern early in the regular season.
“We thought we were pretty fast, but from the first time we played them, they’ve obviously improved, as well as we have,” Northwestern coach Jim Wagner said. “I thought our speed would bother them some — I think it did, we did play them 0-0 [in the first half]. What ended up happening in the second half, since we were playing so defensively, we did have a couple of breaks [on defense].”
The Eagles scored in the 59th minute. The Tigers intercepted a cross in the 18-yard box but a clearance went to the center and midfielder Luke Bestard smashed home from the top of the box. Then in the 74th minute, Guerin’s Jacob Cloran took a hard shot from the edge of the box that NW goalie Evan LaDow saved but the rebound fell to forward George Poppas, who finished from close range.
“I think we just wore them down in the first half a little bit,” Guerin coach John Cech said. “Their two big players, [Robert] Olsen and [Blaine] Brutus, they’re just great players and I think we ran them a little bit and got them chasing us and a little bit and they just ran out of gas.