Sam Byrd wanted to see his team match intensity in the second half.
The Red Devils did.
But Richmond couldn’t find the right combination Thursday to match sixth-ranked Columbus North on the scoreboard, falling 1-0 to the host team in a Class 2A boys soccer regional semifinal on the Bulldogs’ field.
Bloomington South won the first semifinal 1-0 over East Central. The championship is 7 p.m. Saturday.
“It was a physical game,” Byrd said. “I think we definitely stepped it up in the second half to match their energy and intensity.
“They (the Bulldogs) were good. They were a good, solid team for sure.”
One goal decided it, and that goal came with about 5 minutes gone in the first half.
The host team controlled the tempo that period, missing out on a pair of scoring opportunities that ricocheted off the post.
The Red Devils had two shots in the first half, with their best chance coming on an attempt by Michael Black.
But the night’s best RHS opportunity belonged to Mitch Ahaus in the second half. The Richmond senior blasted a direct kick with 7:44 left that was punched away and out of danger by the Columbus North goalkeeper.
“We just had to step up the intensity and we did. I think we matched them the second half and had a chance or two,” Byrd said. “We just couldn’t quite create a goal.”
For the Red Devils, Drew Barrett shined in goal for a slew of saves, while Nathan Guth and Matt Sheridan led the RHS defense.
Richmond finished 14-5-2.
This was the second consecutive time Richmond’s season has come to an end at Columbus. The Red Devils also fell in last year’s regional semifinal 2-0 to Bloomington North.
RHS was coming off its fourth straight sectional title, won last Saturday 2-1 over Connersville at the Rushville tournament.
The Red Devils have won 13 total sectional championships. They also captured a piece of this year’s North Central Conference crown in a three-way tie for first place.
“We had a heck of a season — conference champs, sectional champs four years in a row,” Byrd said. “If we have to go out, maybe going out 1-0 to a great team like Columbus North on their home field is the way to do it.”