GARRETT – Top corner. Goalies right.
Call that the final resting place for No. 2 Bishop Luers Thursday night, and safe haven for No. 5 Canterbury.
In a Class A Garrett boys soccer regional semifinal showdown that filled the bleachers and had fans hanging three-deep along the fences, Jacob Fritz broke up a fierce defensive battle with a goal in the 39th minute. Britt Watts and Cole Walker then buried Luers with two rockets within three minutes of each other to the same spot as the Cavaliers ended the Knights season 3-0.
Canterbury (12-6-1) will play West Noble, a 4-2 winner in overtime, in the championship game at noon Saturday.
In this one, Fritz got it going, but Watts and Walker ended the argument with a couple of highlight-reel shots. Watts planted the first with a left-footed bomb from somewhere in the vicinity of Kendallville in the 41st minute, and three minutes later Walker followed by drilling a shot from straight in front of the goal.
I just knew we needed one, Watts said of his goal.
To be honest, I just nailed it. They played it off me perfectly, and I just hit it, and it ended up in the back of the net, Walker said of his goal.
Canterbury coach Greg Mauch, who saw his team avenge an early-season 4-1 loss to Luers, was somewhat more expansive.
Two beautiful shots, he said. Those were grand chances, and they finished them so well. I really think that took the wind out of the sails for them. Threes a really tough number to come back from. Twos one thing, but threes a whole other ballgame.
Especially when Canterbury was playing as well defensively as it was, effectively taking away the through balls to its speedy wings that have served Luers so well this season.
We just wanted take away as many of the long balls over the top as we could and make them pass the ball around, Mauch said. The first time we played them they did it and they did it at will, so we were aware of that idea for them.
Neither team showed the other much daylight in the first half, until Fritz finally got his left foot on a ball into the box in the 39th minute and punched it past a diving John Wellman in the Luers goal.
That and Canterbury goalie Chase Walkers two huge stops in the final minute, robbing Luers Jacob Murphy both times, seemed to turn the tide. It was left only for Watts and Walker to officially start the clock on the end of the season for Luers (14-2-1).