Harrison kept pounding away at McCutcheon’s defense until it broke through with a couple of goals to beat its county rival, 2-0, in Hoosier Crossroads Conference play Tuesday.
After a scoreless first half, the wind picked up at the Harrison soccer complex and the Raiders took advantage with a quick goal.
The Raiders (5-2) were already controlling play on both ends of the field, but it wasn’t until Nestor Sededji’s goal with 38:17 left in the second half when Harrison really started to put the game away.
Sededji charged down the left side of the goal and then fired a shot across the pipes to the right corner of the net to give Harrison the lead.
“We had an exchange in the middle and Austin Webb saw me running up the weak side, and I just did everything I could get it in the back of the net,” Sededji said. “It was open for some time, but Austin has great vision and he really saw it at that time.”
Harrison coach Bryan Clouse said he felt the goal was the turning point in the game.
“Our main objective in the game was the have that clean sheet on defense, and we got that tonight,” Clouse said. “As soon as we cracked that first goal, it really helped our momentum. I think we eventually wore them down toward the end of the game. We were moving the ball around and made them work to get it back.”
Harrison had 12 shots on goal compared to three for McCutcheon (3-3-1), illustrating how lopsided the game was. Still, Mavericks coach Boyd Wheeler said he believed his team could muster up enough offense to challenge the Raiders.
“For the most part (offensively) we started running north-south, and it wasn’t creating as many opportunities for us,” Wheeler said. “We’ve got to do a better job of possessing the ball. I still felt confident that we could come out and score. We had a lot more opportunities in the first half than in the second half.”
Austin Harris put the game away with an unassisted goal at the 4:15 mark.
“In these conditions, we like to play an up-pace tempo, so this suited us,” Clouse said. “I think we’re conditioned for it. We have a deep bench, and hopefully we can wear out our opponents.”
McCutcheon goalie Quentin Perez made several sensational diving blocks of Harrison shots to keep the Mavericks close. He made a diving stop of a hard-kicked ball by Spencer Maley with 7:10 left in the first half to keep the score tied.
“Quentin was huge for us this game,” Wheeler said. “We’re always proud of his effort, but he made some great stops tonight.”
Clouse said, though, if the teams meet again in sectional play this month, this contest will have little to no bearing on it.
“McCutcheon’s got some great players, and being a rival, anything can happen,” he said. “Come October, you can throw this out the window, because it will be a totally different game. It was a great, hard-fought match by both teams tonight and we’re going to move on to Frankfort on Saturday.”