GREENCASTLE — Throughout the entire game, the Tri-West Bruins and Covenant Christian Warriors boys’ soccer teams mirrored each other.
Both squads battled so tight that it wasn’t until 2:21 remaining that a winner emerged.
Covenant’s Keaton Joseph scored the game-clinching goal to lead the Warriors to victory 2-1 Thursday night in the regional opener at Greencastle.
“It was just one bad bounce of the ball and it bounced right to his foot and the kid did a great job putting into the back of the net,” Tri-West coach Adam Bontreger said.
After being tied at 1 for 43 minutes, Joseph’s goal was the difference in front of a loud, well-traveled Bruins crowd.
“It’s gut wrenching. I thought we outplayed them the first half,” Bontreger said. “In the second half, they definitely outplayed us. It was obvious that we were losing steam, starting to get tired and it showed on their offensive push.”
Covenant (7-12-1) struck first five minutes into the game when Jon Christensen put his head on a bouncing ball in the box.
Tri-West (14-5) evened the score when senior Josh McGrath blasted a free kick from 30’ into the back of the net with 4:07 left in the first half.
There was never a favorite through the game, both teams matched up evenly as it was difficult for either to separate.
“I think it was extremely even. As you watched the game, it was a tale of two halves. In the first half we came out with a lot confidence and energy,” Bontreger said. “But in the second half they dominated play and were able to really run us up and down the field. You’ve got to give them credit, they are a heck of a team.”
The Bruins graduate seven seniors in McGrath, Braden Jones, Robbie Brandkamp, Jake England, Sam Koelling, Jarod Sparks and Jake Gimbel.