Times Sports Editor
TERRE HAUTE -- The Terre Haute South Braves marched on to round two of the Terre Haute North Sectional on Thursday night, getting a pair of late goals to break away from a determined Northview squad, 3-0.
Tony Garcia's perfectly placed shot in the upper corner of the net with 17:22 left in the first half was the final tally until the final 14 minutes of the game. But senior midfielder The Braves finally got some breathing room when Zach Pigg broke free of the Knights' defense and got to a lead pass in open territory with 14 minutes remaining. Pigg's shot got by Cainan Reeves in net for a 2-0 lead that eventually sealed the Knights' fate. Dylan Bubeck scored just three minutes later to cap the game's scoring.
"It's a disappointing way to end the season," commented Northview coach Don Bryan. "I would have liked (for the game) to be a little more even keel, but this was definitely a sectional up for grabs."
The Braves took the first step towards that title by making the most of their opportunities.
The first goal came as Garcia worked free of a defender on the right side of the Northview net and ripped a curling shot across the goal mouth and into the top left corner, rattling off the crossbar.
The Knights had a quick look in the game's early minutes when Robert Plummer took a free kick that sailed into the penalty box, but was deflected away by the keeper.
Minutes later, it was the Braves, who would have a direct kick after a foul on Nick Hensler.
Nathan Wheeler's shot over the Northview wall sailed high over the net as both teams regrouped and battled tightly until Garcia's goal gave the Braves an edge.
The second half got rolling quickly as Brandon Hathaway got off a shot in the first minute, but Reeves made the game's biggest save to that point when he stopped a point blank shot from Nic Henderson in the box two minutes later.
The quick paced continued during the early stages of the second half when Northview junior Drew Snyder gathered in a pass from Logan Lynch to get off a quality shot that was saved.
A defensive mistake led to the next Braves' chance as a Northview defender missed a clearing attempt and allowed Henderson a clear shot at the goal where he clanked one of the corner post. Shortly afterwards, Reeves made a leaping save off a South direct kick, punching the ball out of bounds.
Braves defenders kept Northview's forwards and midfielders from stringing together many combinations and didn't allow many clear shots at the net.
A physical second half finally yielded another goal when a Braves' pass found its way through traffic to a racing Pigg, who was successful on his shot.
The second half saw the Knights taking the brunt of foul calls and Bryan felt that the complexion of the game changed as well.
"I think the calls changed things," said Bryan. "We got more calls for us in the first half and it was the opposite in the second half. We played kind of tight and just didn't get our offense on track."
A Northview foul in the box with 12:50 left resulted in a penalty kick for the Braves, but Reeves made a diving save to keep the Knights within striking distance late. However, Bubeck's final goal off a headed pass, ended Northview's chance of a comeback.
Northview ends the season at 5-13 and bids goodbye to 10 seniors. Hathaway, Mark Reed, Ken Wright, Logan Lynch, Hensler, Evan Deal, Michael Ball, Brenan McCullar, Plummer and Reeves all graduate in the spring.
"This is a good group of seniors," commented Bryan. "They helped turn this program around and were a part of a lot of wins."
Terre Haute North Sectional
THS -- Tony Garcia, 17:22
THS -- Zach Pigg, 14:04
THS -- Dylan Bubeck, 10:50