NECC tournament action at Eastside

Eastside’s Mason Fritch, 14 in green, and Central Noble’s Ryan Schroeder, 14 in white, pursue the ball during Tuesday’s NECC tournament match at Butler. The Cougars won 4-0. Also shown are Eastside player Jaiden Baker and Central Noble’s Jonah Hopf.

BUTLER — Two Central Noble goals 45 seconds apart put the visitors over the top in Tuesday’s 4-0 Northeast Corner Conference tournament win over Eastside at Butler.

The Cougars (4-2-3) led 2-0 at halftime on penalty kick goals by Jonah Hopf (17 minutes, 43 seconds left in the half) and Ryan Schroeder (4:56) when Eastside was called for fouls in the box.

“At 2-0, I felt pretty comfortable we were going to win,” Central Noble coach Joe Imhof said. “Both of them were obvious fouls in the box.

“It was a nice gift to have two penalty kicks in the first half, that’s for sure.

“The kids were able to relax a little bit more, especially after the two goals,” Imhof said. “We were able to possess the ball a little bit more and pass into space, which is something we’ve been working on.”

That was the margin until near the midway point of the second half when freshman Jeremiah Imhof made a nice lead pass to teammate Danny Leffers, who beat the Eastside goalie for a 3-0 lead with 21:48 left to play.

Just 45 seconds later, Eastside goalie Colben Steury stopped Leffers’ initial shot, but the Cougars’ Alex Mowery was there to stuff home the rebound to make it 4-0.

“We just didn’t stay with the plan,” Eastside coach Sal Gomez said. “The first half, we were kicking and dribbling for ourselves. We weren’t passing the ball for each other.

“The second half, we spent 25-30 minutes in their half, but we just don’t finish. Even though we are up and down on skill level, we need to work together.

“I know I’ve got a decent team,” Gomez said. “They just need to play a little better than what they’ve been playing.”

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