EVANSVILLE -- Northview's boys' soccer team has endured a rather brutal beginning to the season, finishing up a six game in eight-day span that concludes this evening with a home skirmish with Cascade.
Over the weekend, Northview made the long trip south to take on some of the best competition they will see all season at the River City Classic in Evansville that took place on Friday and Saturday evening.
The Knights began the tourney on Friday, facing off against a defending sectional champion in Evansville Central.
Playing on an unfamiliar artificial turf field, the Knights adapted quickly to a much faster playing surface and hung close with the Bears.
Robert Joslyn got his first start in goal this season and held Evansville Central to a two goal effort. Joslyn made 15 saves against 25 Bears' shots.
"He played extremely well all game and looked great," commented coach Don Bryan.
Northview got off 17 shots on goals resulting in 12 Bears' saves.
Despite a 2-0 defeat, Northview's biggest loss came on a 50/50 ball at a critical spot in the game when Logan Lynch challenged an Evansville player for possession. Both players went down in the play. Lynch was able to walk off the field while the Bears' player was carried off. As a result, both players were unavailable the rest of the weekend.
Northview got solid play from Nick Hensler, Brandon Hathaway and Robert Plummer according to Bryan. Six different players had shots and steals from all three basic positons.
"A good effort at a tough loss to Crawfordsville on Thursday," said Bryan.
In the second contest the Knights played on a regular turf field against the Evansville Day School.
The Eagles were able to edge out the Knights in a 2-1 decision in a see-saw battle.
Both teams had good opportunities with the Day School getting on the board first on a counter attack. A second first half goal put the Eagles up 2-0 at the break.
The Knights continued to string together some dangerous combinations in the physical contest, outshooting the Eagles, nine to five in the first half with seven corner kicks.
Cainan Reeves got the start in net, saving three shots.
In the second half, the Day School was able to hold Northview's attacks at bay until the Knights got a steal and scored on a combination involving Nick Hensler, Drew Snyder and Josh Lynch. On the play a collision with the Evansville keeper resulted in Hathaway putting the ball in the net.
Trailing by a goal, the Knights ripped off five more shots in the second half, outshooting their opponent 18-9 for the game, but simply ran out of time in the defeat.
"The effort from our midfielders was much better," commented Bryan. "The offense was even more balanced with eight different players getting shots off."
Northview got 11 shots from its forwards with six from the midfield and one from a fullback. Ken Wright, Brennan McCullar, Hathaway and Snyder each excelled in the contest according to Bryan.
In the tournament finale for the Knights, Northview matched up with Evansville North well during the early stages of the match before a hard charge a Huskies player left Reeves a bit banged up. Evansville got on the board before the Knights switched to Joslyn in net with 25 minutes remaining in the half.
Austin Frankville would finish the match during the second half of the loss.
Bryan admitted that the early schedule has been tough to start the season.
"Five games in five days is a tough run for any team at any level," said Bryan. "To face two sectional champs and a semi-state participant is tough. We got strong efforts from Hathaway, Hensler, Plummer, Mark Reed, Evan Deal, Drew Snyder, James Bryan, Josh Lynch and Ken Wright (until an injury in the last game)," added Bryan.
Northview (0-5 overall) hosts Cascade tonight at 5 p.m.