Center Grove made its intentions known early against Warren Central at Thursday’s IHSAA Class 2A Boys Soccer Regional at Mount Vernon (Fortville).
Within the first two minutes of the semifinal match, the No. 4 Trojans scored two goals, then cruised to a 5-0 win against the Warriors.
Center Grove returns to play for its second straight regional championship at 7:30 p.m. Saturday against the tournament-host Marauders, who beat Southport 3-2 in Thursday’s other semifinal.
Trojans senior forward Mitch Eckerle and junior forward Gabe Edel led the way against Warren Central, with one goal and one assist each. Senior keeper Dalton Mudd recorded four saves to earn the shutout.
During the regular season, Center Grove narrowly beat the Warriors 1-0 in their Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference game.
Despite Warren Central’s 6-7-4 record, coach Phil Orlando said the Trojans (16-2-1) couldn’t take the Warriors lightly.
“We absolutely knew they could hang with us,” Orlando said. “So we just had to show up and play our game, which we did.”
And because of that familiarity, Orlando knew the Trojans would need to capture momentum early.
“I told the kids we had to keep possession and play pretty quick because (Warren Central) was going to play eight or nine behind the ball all night, which they did,” Orlando said. “But our kids played a pretty good game tonight.”