Spartans cruise to semis

Staff photo by Rodney Lopez

South Knox midfielder Evan Miller races to clear a ball out of Washington Catholic’s zone before Daniel Grothues (7) can get there during their quarterfinal meeting in the Class A South Knox Sectional on Tuesday.

With South Knox owning a 12-0 regular season win over Washington Catholic, the Cardinals weren’t expected to put up much of a fight in their Class A South Knox Sectional opener on Tuesday.

Spartans senior Avery Gerkin helped ensure that there was little resistance.

Gerkin put in South Knox’s first score less than 10 minutes in, and he had a part in every first-half score as the eighth-ranked Spartans blanked Washington Catholic, 6-0.

The Spartans (16-0-1) advance to the second semifinal at 8 p.m. today where they face the winner between Rivet and Mitchell, which ended too late Tuesday. North Knox, which received the bye, begins sectional play in the first semifinal at 6 p.m. today against White River Valley, which outlasted Bloomfield 4-3 in overtime Monday.

Gerkin had the first two goals for South Knox, both on Eli Thomas assists. The first came at the 30:37 mark, and the second less than four minutes later at 26:53, with Kylar Simmons providing the hockey assist to Thomas. Tristen Dubbs made it 3-0 three minutes later on an assist from Gerkin, and Gerkin returned the favor to Thomas as Thomas scored at the 14:21 mark. The 4-0 margin stuck through the half.

“The boys came out prepared to play. They wanted to put it away early, and they did,” Spartans coach Tim Goodwin said. “Everybody played. Our starters got a little bit of rest in the first half, and they sat almost the entire second half.”

Goodwin hinted that with his team having to play again today, the rest could be beneficial.

“Back-to-backs are always tough, so we were hoping to get them some rest. They got plenty of time in the match too, but they got some rest, and I think we should be good (today),” Goodwin said.

“They had fun out there. Everyone was having fun tonight.”

Freshman Dakota Candler, typically a defender, got in on the scoring early in the second half, using his body to deflect in a corner kick from Evan Miller with 34:37 showing. South Knox’s backups were just as relentless offensively as the starters, but the Spartans failed to find the net again until the final minute. Pedro Pantall sent a cross in the box that appeared to be headed to the goal, but Ethan Pelham tapped it into the back of the net for good measure, giving Pantall the assist at the :58 mark.

Keeper Trevor Malott was mostly untested, collecting two saves before exiting in favor of Jackson Hoops for the final 15 minutes.

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