For The Tribune

Columbus East scored three goals in the final 5:33 of Tuesday’s Hoosier Hills Conference boys’ soccer match to break open a close match for a 4-0 O Cup victory at C.B. Hess Memorial Field.

The Olympians scored the only goal they needed when Jayvon Thomas received a crossing pass from Ramiro Nieto and put it in the net at 21:56 of the first half.

The teams battled on even terms for the remainder of the first half and the first 34 minutes of the second half before the Olympians scored three times in the HHC-opener for both teams.

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Andrew Thomasson scored two goals around a goal by Ian Pittman, all in the final 5:33.

Owls coach Matt Dennis said he felt like his team missed some scoring opportunities because their timing was off.

“Everything was there, the angles were there,” he said. “It comes down to we’ve just got to work at game speed in practice. We have to be comfortable taking touches in practice the same speed we need to take them in a game so that they’re not too long or they don’t take us away from the run that is made.

“I would say our final ball-in is what needs work. I think part of the end of the match, when we lost our ability to keep the ball, I think a lot of that was fatigue. When your mind gets tired you lose your focus a bit so you spray a ball wide or whatever, and I think we saw that more in the second half.”

Dennis played a handful of Owls for a majority of the match before making substitutions.

“I had six or seven guys that didn’t come out of the match, and it’s tough to play 80 hard minutes against a Columbus East team, and 70 minutes of it was great, and then when we made a tactical adjustment we gave up the goals,” he said.

The Owls coach said he hopes his team draws East in the sectional.

“Make no mistake, I want them in the sectional,” Dennis said. “We showed what we can do against them. We did some good things. I think when we get Kyle Jones back, and he goes in that game, that is one heck of a difference. I don’t think we can discount that. Our guys played very well without him, but there is a leader sitting on the bench. With him in that game we can make some other adjustments, and I want them in October. I want to play them at full force and see what happens.”

Jones had to sit out the match due to receiving a red card at Providence on Saturday.

The Owls are 1-2 and the Olympians stand at 2-1-1.

“This was a good win for us,” Olympians coach Brad Barber said. “We put a lot of emphasis on coming out and competing against a Seymour team that works hard and is improving every year.”

This marks the 10th straight year East has retained the O Cup.

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Arv Koontz is a sports correspondent for The (Seymour) Tribune.