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The matchup on the pitch between Carroll County and Holy Cross (Covington) was one of those games you wish would have gone into overtime, just to see how it all played out in the end. Unfortunately, it was not a district contest, and the game ended Thursday, Sept. 19, knotted in a 3-3 tie.
“I thought that was a great game, great effort by us,” head coach Ben Crutcher said. “I was pleased with the tie to be our third game in three nights.”
Coming into the game, the Panthers had defeated Gallatin County and Holmes by scores of 6-0, 6-3, respectively.
Crutcher said the two teams were very evenly matched, evident in both Thursday’s game as well as in a preseason scrimmage where the starters tied 0-0. Holy Cross ultimately won the game, 1-0.
The Panthers were the first on the board in the 11th minute, as senior Cody Cruz scored on a cross by fellow senior Michael Hall.
Holy Cross came knocking on the door a few minutes later, as one of their players took a wide open shot, but sophomore keeper Cody Damron was there to dive in front of it. The Indians took a few more shots on goal, but one was blocked by defender Brett Hall and another sailed just high of the cross bar.
Hall has been battling a toe injury the last couple games, but Crutcher said he has been playing solid. “He’s reliable, he’s smart, he knows what he’s doing back on the D-line.”
In the 17th minute, freshman Tyler Stewart threaded the needle with a through pass to Michael Hall, but the Indian keeper came out to make the grab. About a minute later, sophomore Alex Burns made a slide tackle to steal the ball from Holy Cross and maneuvered down the field on a give and go with Michael Hall. Burns shot, but the keeper dove to make the save.
Holy Cross threatened again late in the half, but Carroll County’s defense held strong, giving their team the 1-0 lead at the half.
In the fourth minute of the second half, Holy Cross head coach Dave Groneck was hit for a yellow card after continuing to complain to the head referee about calls not going their way, in particular on a collision between Michael Hall and a Holy Cross player that went Carroll’s way.
The Indians tied the score in the seventh minute as a shot bounced off the cross bar and was tapped in the net. About five minutes later, Holy Cross scored again after intercepting a Carroll throw-in and nailing a long ball from outside the box.
But the visitors would not keep the lead for long. In the 14th minute, Michael Hall took a shot that was blocked by the keeper, but freshman Anthony Vasquez, right off the bench, followed the shot and tapped it in, 2-2.
The Panthers scored again on a similar play in the 35th minute to re-take the lead. David Marshall and Michael Hall were attacking the Indian goal, and Stewart was there to follow the play and put a foot on the ball. Hall was credited with the assist.
Stewart started the past two games in place of the injured Tyler Tuttle. “He’s really come along these last couple games,” Crutcher said. “He’s played the best game so far tonight.”
However, Holy Cross answered, scoring less than a minute later to tie the game, 3-3.
In the last seconds of the game, Holy Cross was awarded a direct kick just outside the box, and Damron made a diving save as time expired to keep Carroll out of the losers column.
Despite not scoring, Hall “has been on a tear” these last three games, his head coach said. He has scored nine goals and dished out four assists in the last three games. He has 25 goals and 10 assists on the season.
Crutcher also praised Burns for his efforts, saying he has been “playing lights out” the last couple games.
“It’s been an overall team effort these last four games,” Crutcher said. “Hopefully we can continue that streak into Saturday morning against our district opponent.”
Panthers defeat Holmes
Michael Hall scored four goals as Carroll County routed Holmes, 6-3, Sept. 18. Mark Ogburn and David Marshall scored the Panthers’ other two goals.
Carroll led 2-0 at halftime, and at about the 15th minute, Holmes scored to pull within one goal. But that was when Hall took over, head coach Ben Crutcher said. Hall scored four quick goals, and the lead quickly ballooned to 6-1. Crutcher brought in his reserves with about 10 minutes to go, contributing to Holmes scoring their final two goals.