And the Athenians pulled off the victory with a shorthanded defense, a new game plan, and a lot of attention to Northwestern forward Robert Olsen.
“I got a call [Thursday] morning from our starting sweeper [Brandon Beck], who’s all-conference, probably one of our best players. He said ‘I’ve got mono, I’m done for the year,’” Durrwatcher said. “[Thursday] morning, I’m sitting here thinking ‘oh man, how are we going to do this?’ So we switched things around, but our main plan of attack was to find 11 [Olsen] because we’ve heard a lot about 11.
“We watched him last Saturday [in the Tipton Sectional final]. We saw how he dominated the play. We just said man mark him the entire game. That was our plan of attack, just sticking on 11 and making sure we covered him. That’s where we went for starters.”
Crawfordsville didn’t just blanket Olsen, it threw a cover over the entirety of the Northwestern attack that severely limited the Purple Tigers’ chances.
Olsen had two good looks at goal in the first half, hitting a post, and chipping just wide when a bouncing long ball eluded the Crawfordsville defense, but Northwestern didn’t force Crawfordsvlle goalie Jake Zurawski into any saves in the first half. Northwestern got busier in the second half, but still had almost no unobstructed views at goal. Zurawski, came up big when called on.
He had five saves after halftime, including two difficult stops. In the 60th minute he stonewalled Jacob Wagner at the near post after Wagner beat a couple defenders on the left endline and took his chances from a tight angle. Then in the 77th minute, Olsen wheeled around with a defender on him and looped a quick turn shot that Zurawski tipped over the bar to preserve the lead.