WATERLOO – The Carroll boys soccer team moved on to the sectional championship, butthe Chargers weren't particularly happy about it.
Despite not playing the game they wanted, the Chargers still easily got past Snider in the Class 3A sectional at DeKalb, winning 4-0 Wednesday behind a pair of goals and an assist from senior forward Chase Hartzog.
Carroll, ranked No. 2 in the state and winners of five in a row coming in, raced out to a four-goal lead at halftime but let off the gas in the second half, which was seen as “probably the worst half they've played all year” by coach Rollie Clements.
“First half we were pretty good, second half we were flat,” Clements said. “It's one of those things, you're playing your 19th game of the year. We could make excuses, but we don't really have a good one. ... And credit to (Snider), they came out and played a better second half.”
With the win, the Chargers (16-2-1) advance to Saturday's sectional final, where they will take on Northrop, which beat East Noble 4-0 on Wednesday. Carroll defeated the Bruins 4-0 on Sept. 19.
After scoring within two minutes of the opening whistle in its quarterfinal win over DeKalb, the Chargers once again got off to a blazing start. They had the ball in Snider's end for most of the opening few minutes and took the lead for good in the fifth minute.
Hartzog got the ball off a touch near the edge of the box and broke toward the goal, drawing in the defense. As he got near the net, he laid a perfect cross in for senior Christopher Gerkin, who tapped the ball into the wide-open net to put the Chargers up 1-0.
The next two goals went to Hartzog. One came on a breakaway midway through the half on which he found himself all alone in the middle of the field and easily beat the goalie.
Less than five minutes later, Carroll's Samuel Michaels rolled a beautiful pass into the middle of the field for William Hull, who found Hartzog one-on-one on the right side. Hartzog got inside position on the defender in the box and worked his way into an open shot for another goal and a 3-0 advantage.
“I just saw that their back line was pressing up,” Hartzog said of his second score. “I made a run and my teammate found me on the through ball, perfect through ball, perfectly weighted. I collected it, opened up my body and put it away.”
For most of the season, Peyton Fosnough has been the center of the Chargers' offense, but late in the year, Hartzog has emerged as a capable and confident running mate. His hot streak in the sectional has given defenses more to worry about.
“It's great,” Fosnough said of playing with Hartzog. “Going into the season, teams were marking me with two, three people on me. Then Chase started scoring all these goals and they have no idea where he came from.”
After going into halftime up 4-0, the Chargers were scoreless in the second 40 minutes. That gives them a little extra motivation for Saturday's clash with Northrop.
“We can't wait,” Hartzog said of the sectional title matchup. “We have eyes on state and this is just another stepping stone to get there.”