Carey Fox photo
Shaun Hardey (right) fires a penalty kick past West Vigo's keeper for the Knights first goal in a 5-0 shutout victory.
By CAREY FOX
Coming off a game in which Tobias Ritzen scored three goals against Terre Haute North, Northview knew they would have to put the clamps on West Vigo's latest exchange student sensation to win their conference opener in soccer.
Consider the job done.
The Northview defense limited the Vikings' long balls to Ritzen and did an excellent job on the counterattack in winning 5-0 to move to 1-0 in the WIC portion of their schedule.
"After reading a little about (Ritzen) we knew that West Vigo liked to play long passes to him," said coach Todd LaComba. "So we did a good job of marking him tight. We got a touch on some of the balls and then let Shaun Hardey sweep in."
Indeed, Ritzen had little room to move and the Knights kept pounding shots at the Vikings' keeper.
The Knights got plenty of early chances before they finally found the scoreboard when Josh Brown was hauled down in the box, drawing a penalty kick. Hardey would convert the shot, firing a deflection off Bryan Chestnut and into the net with just 6:38 remaining in the first half.
The goal evidently whetted the Knights offensive appetite as Northview scored off a corner with 2:23 left before half.
Lucas Boyd got the corner and moved the ball to the center where John Latta fired a low bullet that skipped between Chestnut's legs for a 2-0 lead. Nate Navel assisted on the tally.
In the second half, the Knights began to capitalize on the close efforts that didn't find net the first time around.
Navel was once again the catalyst for a goal in the second half when Jordan Pond was able to get a knee on a loose ball in the box to score the Knights third goal of the game.
"In the beginning (West Vigo) played us tough, they're one of our main rivals in soccer," said LaComba. "Our guys finally settled in and we captured some of the magic we had in the Terre Haute North game," he commented referring to an opening season win against the Patriots.
Latta was up next in the scoring column, taking advantage of a nice assist from Brandon Hathaway. The pair would later switch roles with 17:19 left in the game as Hathaway gathered in a pass from Latta to the corner of the goal and poked home the shot for the final tally.
Taylor Montague would keep the shutout intact with a nice save on a crossing pass in the box that Ritzen got a boot on. Montague, rushing back to his right, got a hand on the deflection and made the save.
"After letting in some goals against Mooresville, we shored things up a bit tonight," noted LaComba. "No matter how many goals you score, if you don't allow any, you'll be okay."
The Knights certainly looked more than okay on Thursday night and get another big test on Tuesday when they visit Terre Haute South for a JV/Varsity matchup.
The Northview JV got their first win on the season, getting goals from Cody Rose, sophomore Chris Manning and classmate AJ Clingerman.
Cainan Reeves got a 35 minute shutout in goal before inclement weather shortened the game.
The team is now 1-3-1 overall.