Boys’ soccer tames Wildcats for conference win

Scoreless first half ends with a Titan victory

Eli Chandler, Sports Reporter

The Gibson Southern boys’ soccer team faced off against the Mt. Vernon Wildcats on Thursday, September 10. The boys looked to improve upon their three-game win streak, which included beating Heritage Hills, South Spencer and Evansville Central. The Titans weren’t overlooking the Wildcats, though, and prepared for it like any other game.

“It was really just a normal week of practice,” senior Preston Riggs said. “We didn’t do anything special.”

Gibson Southern started out slow. Senior center midfielder Justin Barthel suffered from a hamstring injury, along with a plethora of other players sidelined for different injuries and illnesses, so there was some adapting of the team’s game play. After a scoreless first half for both teams, the Titans were ready to try a new game plan heading into the second half.

“We knew we were going to have to make some changes, not necessarily in our lineup, but in the way that we played the game,” senior midfielder Cole Walker said. “In the first half, we strayed away from our normal play style and started kicking long balls in the hopes we could get Jake [Romershausen] in on a breakaway.”

Head coach Chris Barthel knew his team was not playing to its full potential and gave the boys the advice they needed.

“Coach told us that if we wanted to win the game, we would have to settle down and play our style,” Walker said. “Although we didn’t do as well as we possibly could, I can say that once we began to play more balls to feet instead of sending them long, we began to make better scoring chances for ourselves.”

The second half started out fast with a goal from Barthel that sparked the Titans’ intensity.

“Justin Barthel has been suffering from a hamstring injury, but after his first goal, the adrenaline kicked in, and he didn’t feel any pain the rest of the game,” Chris Barthel said. “That enabled him to play with more intensity.”

The Titans continued with their halftime changes and stopped the Wildcats, as well as score goals of their own. The Titans capitalized on a foul that resulted in a penalty kick goal, as well as a breakaway goal. Along with Justin Barthel, Romerhausen and junior Mosbah Alshwikh scored – giving Gibson Southern a 3-0 lead. Senior goalkeeper Ryan Ziliak had eight saves on the day.

The Titans let off the gas toward the end of the game, and Mt. Vernon capitalized on that lack of drive. Senior Gabe Owens scored a loan goal for Mt. Vernon, ending the game 3-1 in favor of Gibson Southern.