The Student News Site of Center Grove High School


The Student News Site of Center Grove High School


The Student News Site of Center Grove High School


Center Grove boys’ soccer team takes on state runners-up Columbus North, seeks to avenge loss in last year’s regional

Ethan Gable
Cooper Worley slides to beat a Bloomington South player to the ball. The Trojans would win the game 2-0.

The undefeated No. 9 boys soccer team will host No. 4 Columbus North in a rematch of last year’s regional playoff game, where the Bulldogs would emerge with a 3-1 victory on the Trojans’ turf.

The Trojans will look to add to their 5-0 record against last year’s state runner-ups, who will be returning several key seniors.

“They were the state runner-up last year, and they haven’t lost very many seniors,” senior center back Chase Stoneburner said. “They are very technical, very fast and a very good team. The way they shift across the field is really good and hard to defend.”

One of these returning players is senior striker Aidan Whitley, who has tallied two goals and two assists in their four games but is better known as the player who scored the second goal in their regional matchup last year.

“He is first-team all state returning,” head coach Jameson McLaughlin said. “He’s a really good player. He scored the second goal for them last year, and from my perspective, it was an unbelievable finish. He has the ability to do a lot of damage, so for me, he is the one you always have to keep an eye on.”

One key to the Trojan’s game plan will be their defensive intensity, which has allowed them to concede only one goal in their five games thus far.

“It’s got to be another game full of effort, full of attack, just go, go, go,” Stoneburner said. “Our defensive effort has been good so far, and if we keep that up this game, we should finish the game off pretty well.”

As a defensive midfielder, Junior Keaton Barnhizer has been a big part of this defensive intensity, but possessing the ball and making quick decisions might be a larger focus for him considering the intensity in which the Bulldogs play.

“I am going to have to move the ball a lot quicker against Columbus North,” Barnhizer said. “They’re a lot better team. Against other teams, I can move the ball a little slower and find my passes a little better, but they’re going to be harder to do stuff [against]. As long as we keep communicating and keep moving as fast as possible, we should be able to get [a win].”

Along with the defensive intensity, the Trojans will attempt to play with more width in their 3-5-2 formation against a team that presses high in the midfield and in transition. 

“I think, if we play it correctly, [our formation] could play to our advantage if we keep the width,” McLaughlin said. “Columbus North tries to press you really hard and try to cut the field in half very aggressively. If my wingbacks can stay wide and we can switch the ball from one side of the field to the other, then we can attack with the wings and the width that we keep. It helps us defensively because they’re really strong through the middle, and a 3-5-2 is something that is designed to force people into the middle so that you can defend it a little bit easier.”

This game, however, carries more significance than any other games on the Trojans’ schedule as the Bulldogs knocked the Trojans out of the state tournament with three early goals before the Trojans could regain their footing. 

“They’re one of our rivals,” McLaughlin said. “I think the boys will tell you they’re our rivals because they play club with some of the boys, and they’ve kind of grown up with some of those boys. They’re also the team that knocked us out of the tournament last year, and it’s one of the better teams we’ll face all season.”

Despite the stakes of the game and the records of the teams, the Trojans will look to take this game as any other game and come away with a win.

“Obviously, it would feel really good and keep us happy and hopeful for the rest of the season, but it’s just another regular season game, and when we play them in [playoffs], it’s really going to matter,” Stoneburner said.

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Gourav Pany
Gourav Pany, Website Editor
Junior Gourav Pany has been on staff for three years. He started his Publications career in his freshman year when writing stories about fantasy football and school features. Pany is a website editor and is currently working on sports and student features for the website, along with weekly sports previews. Pany would like to note that he likes writing, sports (especially soccer) and running.
You can overcome anything, if and only if you love something enough. -Lionel Messi

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