BY Dennis Glade
---- — The Washington boys soccer game entered Thursday night’s game needing a victory to avoid ending the regular season with a loss at home and entering the sectional on a four-game losing streak.
Washington (12-4-1) defeated Evansville Harrison 1-0 at the Sports Complex on Senior Night on a second half goal from senior Austin Ghirardelli.
The Hatchets and the Warriors played to a scoreless tie in the first 40 minutes, but in the second half Washington came out with a focused offensive attack. Four minutes into the second half, sophomore Nicholas White had a point blank shot in front of the Harrison goal, but goaltender Garrett Smith stopped the shot.
Eight minutes later, Ghirardelli was presented with another Washington scoring opportunity, but this time the senior didn’t miss. Ghirardelli fired a shot from 22’ out and Smith wasn’t able to corral it to give Washington a 1-0 lead.
“We had (Austin) Ghirardelli man-marking Cameron Gilreath, he is very good in the midfield and (Austin) Ghirardelli stepped up and did a great job,” said Washington coach Quintin Myers. “We had the ball and (Austin) Ghirardelli broke free and he just ripped a shot and the keeper wasn’t able to save it.”
In the first half Washington outshot Harrison 4-3 and the Hatchets had two corners, but they couldn’t find the back of the net. With a special change to the lineup, Myers was happy to get playing time to some players who may not have gotten the minutes earlier in the season.
“We started with our nine seniors — that’s obviously not how we usually start out the game, but it was a way to honor those guys for their time spent with us,” Myers said. “They did a fine job — they worked hard, but we were out of rhythm, because that’s not our starting unit. We subbed and got things going. We didn’t have the anticipation or urgency that we needed. We talked about it at halftime, and that’s a prime example of what we’ll deal with Wednesday in the sectional at Evansville North against Boonville, we’ll be knocked out.”
Prior to the beginning of the contest, Washington honored its nine seniors - Brooks Brown, Cory Humerickhouse, Austin Ghirardelli, Hunter Thurston, Tony Serrano, Kole Trask, Josh Kirsch, Luke Jones, Andy Garland. This is Myers’ third year as the Hatchets’ head coach and he coached these seniors as a varsity assistant and in club ball.
“Senior Night is a big deal to these guys with all the hard work they have put into the program and it’s an opportunity to honor them,” Myers said. “I’m just glad we got the win, we managed to pull this one out.”
Washington won’t play another game before the sectional game Wednesday against Boonville, a team the Hatchets defeated 5-0 earlier this season. Myers said it’s important for the team to keep their focus between now and then.
“We have to keep working hard — we have to stay in shape,” Myers said. “We had the Jasper game last Thursday and then this one this week so we have to stay in game shape. That’s going to require us to play mini games to keep our legs moving and keep working hard in practice.”