EVANSVILLE — Washington junior forward Francisco Rodriguez didn’t enter the Hatchets’ sectional match until late in the second half, but his presence made all the difference.
Washington (13-4-1) survived a scare by beating Boonville (7-11) 1-0 in overtime Wednesday night at the 2A Evansville North soccer sectional.
Through 80 minutes the score was tied despite Washington dominating possession its offensive zone and a heavy advantage in shots on goal. Less than 90 minutes into the first overtime period, Rodriguez took a kick from the right corner and a deflection turned into an own goal off Boonville Dakota Eble to give Washington a 1-0 lead.
“He had plenty of time sitting over there listening to what we needed,” said Washington coach Quintin Myers. “He got in and the first corner he had he served it right where we needed it and that’s what created the opportunity.”
Washington dominated possession in the first half, but the Boonville defense stood tall. The Hatchets outshot the Pioneers 15-4 for the game, but couldn’t get a shot past goaltender Dakota Eble. In the 29th minute, Washington’s Hunter Thurston had a breakaway, but Eble corralled the attempt.
Two minutes later, Thurston had a chance on a header in front of the goal but the ball went to the right of the goal. The score remained tied at halftime, despite Washington’s domination of possession in the first 40 minutes. In the first 10 minutes of the second half, senior Andy Garland had two chances – one on a shot from 18’ out and then on a breakaway to the right of the goal, but Eble was up to the challenge.
“We created a lot of chances — we worked the ball to the corner and tried to get the crosses in, and the crosses in the first half didn’t have enough power on them and weren’t making it in there and weren’t in the middle of the field where they needed to be,” Myers said.
“Obviously if they’re not getting in there, there’s no way we can score. We talked at half that we’re doing exactly what we need to be doing, but the crosses were poor. Our service on corners and free kicks was lacking tonight and we have to improve — that’s the keys to victory for us.”
With 13 minutes remaining in the second half, Washington senior Luke Raymond had a head on collision with Boonville’s Luke Parker, which resulted in both players going down. Parker spent less than a minute on the ground, but Raymond remained down for several minutes before being helped off the field. Myers said Raymond sustained a concussion on the play.
The contest was undecided until the own goal in overtime, but for much of the night Boonville had no offensive chances and Myers said that was thanks to Washington’s players in the back doing an excellent job. The Hatchets will face the winner of the other semi-final between Evansville North and Castle.
“People could say we overlooked Boonville — we played our game, we just couldn’t get anything to the back of the net,” Myers said. “Mainly we need to work on some finishing drills. We just have to play our game, things just didn’t go in tonight.”