On the soccer pitch, all it takes is a single opportunity for glory.
In its biggest game of 2017 thus far, Seymour’s boys soccer team was presented a golden chance under the glow of their home lights.
Seymour made the most of that opportunity.
With 31:21 left in the match, Seymour junior forward Daniel Hartman dribbled down the left side of the field off a pass from Tyler Penegar and was fouled from behind inside the 18-yards box.
Hartman stepped up and rocketed the ball right, Jeffersonville keeper Seth Scott went left, and the crowd exploded at the soccer complex.
Hartman converted the second half penalty kick to help the Owls (13-3-1) edge the Red Devils 1-0 in the quarterfinals of the Seymour Sectional Tuesday.
In a battle for possession in the midfield, neither team was able to rip a shot on goal in the opening 10 minutes.
The Owls’ Ethan Greene had the first opportunity on goal for Seymour, taking a through ball from Penegar and shooting from 10 yards but it was saved by the Red Devils.
Payton Reasoner saw an open attempt not a minute later, around the 27-minute mark, but the shot sailed high right in front of the net.
Seymour had a pair of corner kicks by the halfway mark of the first 40 minutes, but couldn’t capitalize.
Brayan Morales headed a cross from Reasoner with at the 3:11-mark, from five yards, but the opportunity was saved Scott.
At intermission, the teams deadlocked at 0-0.
Out of the break, both teams dialed up the intensity.
Elliott Clark made a big save for the Owls with 34 minutes left, thwarting a 2-verses-1, just outside the goal.
Shortly after, Hartman put the Owls ahead.
“(Penegar) did a phenomenal job, playing a one-touch ball to Dan wide,” Seymour coach Matt Dennis said. “That’s the type of ball that makes good things happen. It set Dan up for a tremendous run into the box where they had no shot but to foul him. The rest is history.”
Clark made a pair of big saves in the next 15 minutes, keeping the Red Devils at bay.
As the ticks subtracted from the scoreboard, the Owls buckled-in on defense to halt any come-from-behind attempt by the Red Devils.
“I thought we started to sit back a little earlier than I wanted it to,” Dennis admitted. “I think we thought one was enough tonight. On the flip side of the coin, we defended brilliantly and cleared the ball. I thought Charlie Galyen did a phenomenal job when we were sitting back and chasing balls down.”
Jeffersonville outshot Seymour 9-8 in the game and Clark collected three saves for the Owls.
Hartman’s goal total is now 27 on the season, just two short of tying the school record.
With Tuesday’s win, Dennis tied the school record for career IHSAA wins by a coach at Seymour at 67. Former Seymour coach Shaun Mahoney sits at the top with Dennis.
“Mahoney was my high school coach and he gave me the job as an assistant here,” Dennis said. “It’s really cool to be able to stand there with my mentor.”
Win number 13 also is the most in a season from a Dennis-coached team.
The Owls will face Columbus North — who defeated New Albany 4-0 Wednesday — tonight at 7 p.m. in the semifinals. Columbus East and Jennings County will take the field at 5 p.m. for the first match in the semis.
On Sept. 26, North defeated Seymour 2-0.
“We will be ready to go,” Dennis said.