By Justin Whitaker
BROWNSBURG — Looking to advance to the boys’ soccer sectional championship game, Tri-West had another goal in mind Wednesday night — redemption.
After falling to Bethesda Christian at home 2-1 nearly two weeks before, the Bruins were on the hunt for revenge on their opponent’s home field. Tri-West scored two goals in each half to handily defeat the Patriots 4-1 and move onto the sectional championship 7 p.m. Saturday at Bethesda Christian against Greencastle.
“It was one of our best efforts that we’ve had all year long,” Bruins coach Adam Bontreger said. “Tonight was really about the team effort.”
Bontreger and three starters missed the first meeting because of a controversial ending and the resulting suspensions from a game against North Montgomery.
Having the full team back and knowing the Patriots were victorious in the first game was at the front of their minds entering the rematch.
“Oh, without a doubt,” Bontreger said. “We felt pretty confident coming into tonight that if we played our game and handled our game that we would have an opportunity to win. They hung with us real early and played a nice game early but we were just able to get a couple goals to pop in and the rest is history.”
The inclusion of the three Tri-West players was definitely a difference in the game according to Bethesda Christian coach Mike Poynter.
“It obviously made a big difference with their center midfielder back there because they were really dominating the position in the middle of the field,” he said.
Tri-West struck first when Josh McGrath fired a shot at the Bethesda keeper and he was unable to control it before entering the goal 18 minutes into the first half.
The Patriots’ Eric Poynter took a free kick on the left side of the field from close to 35 yards out and placed it in the back of the net 17 minutes before halftime.
“I just saw a really beautiful shot,” Poynter said. “In soccer, those kind of things are fun to watch.”
McGrath then found Jake England for a goal to take a 2-1 lead into intermission.
Bontreger must have given a fiery halftime speech to his squad as only 22 seconds ticked off in the second half before the Bruins’ Evan Moser scored a goal.
“That was an amazing goal and I really didn’t say anything,” said Bontreger about his halftime talk. “We like to crash it down in the corner on our kickoffs and try to get something happening. We got a great hustle out of Kyle Kirby on our midfield who played it across to Evan Moser.”
Senior Sam Koelling then notched his 22nd goal of the season with 12:02 remaining in the game and gave Tri-West the final 4-1 lead.
The Bruins will now look for their first sectional championship against the defending sectional winners, Greencastle.
“We have to play our game,” said Bontreger, who will miss Saturday’s game due to his sister-in-law’s wedding. “If we possess the ball and we are able to play through our midfield and win the midfield I feel we have a really solid chance to play well and put us in a position to win a game Saturday night.”
Bethesda Christian graduates a nine-member class of Luke Wachter, Adam Warrick, Nathan Buck, Grant White, Taylor Decker, Alex Vescovi, Patrick McCurry, Austin Forsythe and Poynter.
“They mean an awfully lot to me,” said Poynter, who coached his last game Wednesday. “This is a small school and we know each other almost like family and my son is a senior so they are also friends as well. I’ve known them not only as students and players but for the relationship with my boy, too.”