While the dream season came to an end, the Seymour boys soccer players could keep their heads high as they exited their turf complex on Monday.
Columbus North dealt the Owls a 3-0 first-round sectional exit, but the Owls still left with an outright Hoosier Hills Conference title and program best 12-4 record.
In the opening four minutes, the Bull Dogs converted a pair of set pieces for scores.
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North first struck at 38:28 when Rico Hollenkamp hit a free kick from 40 yards into the box and Finn Anderson headed it into the top-right corner for a score from just inside 12 yards.
Hollencamp had another superb launch at 36:14.
The junior slammed a direct kick from near the center of the 18 and bounced and slotted a shot off the post to give North the 2-0 advantage.
Seymour took its first shot just inside 32 minutes when Payton Reasoner took a cross from Daniel Hartman on goal, but it was saved by North keeper Mark Salle-Tabor.
The Owls had a pair of golden opportunities within a two-minute span ending at 20:21, as a corner kick was cleared right in front of the North goal and a direct kick from 10 yards hit a Bull Dogs wall inside the goal.
At 12:22, Hollencamp catapulted a shot from 30 yards — on yet another set piece — but Owls keeper Elliott Clark extended for the high save.
At the half, North had outshot the Owls 8-5 while holding the Owls scoreless. Clark had collected six saves for the Owls.
“I thought we competed decently well in the first half and a lot better in the second half,” Owls coach Matt Dennis said. “We had threatening chances. I think we were one pass or one shot from getting a goal in the first half, which would have changed the complexion of the match.
“I feel hard done by to come out of here with a 3-0 loss. The first two goals, I would consider, soft on free kicks. I don’t feel like we got beat 3-0, that’s just what the scoreline says.”
North’s Alex McGill stole the ball from a pair of defenders and hit a shot from 12 yards which was deflected off a Seymour body into the back of the net at 36:55.
A free kick from 35 yards by the Owls’ Cole Fosbrink was deflected just outside the box and Brayan Morales had a shot on goal, but the try sailed just high of the crossbar around the 32 minute-mark.
With 20 minutes remaining, Clark had pushed his save total up to 10 – before finishing with 11 — as the Bull Dogs maintained pressure on the Owls’ defense.
Brayan Torres came in for Clark with 16:09 left in the contest and added a save.
At 1:27, Hartman took a free kick from 20 yards in the center of the field but it went high of the goal.
North coach Andy Glover was issued a yellow and then a red card prior to the kick on the sidelines.
He will miss Wednesday’s semifinals game against Madison but return for the championship should North advance.
The scoreboard read Seymour 13 and North 15 on total shots.
“I told them after the match that it’s OK to be sad and disappointed in the outcome,” Dennis said.
“It’s not the ending that we wanted, or the ending the season deserved. But 10 years from now, these seniors are going to look back on their season and it’s something we will never forget. I’m extremely proud of them.”
Torres, Renato Castillo, Mason Pottschmidt, Daniel Vargas, Brantley Adams, Griffin Sciarra all graduate from the Owls’ program.
“They’re going to be missed — they’re the rocks of this program,” Dennis said.
“Six years ago when I got this job, Griffin, Mason and Brantley (Adams) were seventh-graders playing on an eighth-grade team and I got to know them. Its been six good years of developing all those boys and learning from them — and them learning from me. We’ll never forget what they’ve done for this program.”