Center Grove boys soccer dominates sectional opener


It’s got to start somewhere.

Well, technically it had to start Thursday at Martinsville, but that’s neither here nor there. What matters is the fashion in which Center Grove started its boys soccer playoff run — a 4-0 burial of Bloomington North in Class 3A sectional semifinal action.

The change that the Trojans have undergone recently is what head coach Jameson McLaughlin credits as the reason behind the score looking the way it did Thursday and not how it did when the clubs met prior in the season (a slimmer 5-3 victory for Center Grove).

“We had a little discussion about how we have to get stronger mentally,” McLaughlin said. “I think they’re starting to understand what that means a little bit. And hopefully it keeps clicking — because the sky’s the limit for this group if they truly buy into mental preparedness.”

Not two minutes into the match, Nalen Whitney’s corner kick found the head of Caden York. The senior captain put the ball in the back of the net and Center Grove up 1-0.

Ely Detty brought the Trojans to a 3-0 lead by halftime with a ground-ball penalty kick and then another goal with 14 minutes remaining. (Detty did, however, receive a yellow before the end of the half.)

Bloomington North made little headway, and when the Cougars did get into dangerous territory they were shut down by the Trojans’ back line and goalkeeper Devin McCormick.

Detty added another goal in the second half for a hat trick on the night.

The Trojans (9-5-2) advance to play 3A No. 9 Bloomington South in the sectional final on Saturday evening. Center Grove heads into the match on a five-game winning streak.

“I think we’ve been building momentum for quite a few games,” McLaughlin said. “We’ve won five in a row now. At one point we were 4-5-2, and now we’re 9-5-2. So we’ve been slowly building some momentum.”

The Panthers bested Center Grove earlier in the season, 2-1, but McLaughlin believes his team will come into Saturday’s rematch at Martinsville ready.

“Bloomington South is a very, very good team. They’re very well coached. And they’re friends; they play club soccer together. So it is a bit of a rivalry. You don’t want to go back to club practice, which will start as soon as this tournament is over, and be the kid who lost that game. So we’ll be ready. We’ll be ready.”