RUSHVILLE – The Rushville Lions and Batesville Bulldogs met on the soccer pitch to open the 2019 soccer season. The meeting on Saturday (Oct. 12) was for much more – a sectional title.

Batesville’s first-half goal by Willy Sherwood was all the scoring in the game and the Bulldogs claimed a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Rushville.

Batesville controlled the ball for a majority of the first half. A free kick by Ian Powers just four minutes into the game was the first scoring opportunity for the Bulldogs.

Rushville’s first offensive look came on a break through by Michael Slaton seven minutes into the contest.

With 28:38 showing on the first-half clock, Batesville’s JJ Kuisel dished the assist to Sherwood for the goal and the 1-0 lead.

Rushville had a pair of corner kicks by Ethan Chastain over the next few minutes and Slaton’s attempt on goal was saved by the sliding Batesville keeper Ethan Brewer with 19 minutes left in the first half.

Batesville put together three scoring opportunities over the next several minutes, the last one sent the ball off the right elbow.

Rushville’s Chase Custer had a pair of saves late in the first half to keep the game at 1-0 at the half.

Rushville picked up the possession game in the second half, which included a few more scoring opportunities.

Slaton was able to break away from the defense for a couple opportunities, but the Bulldog defense and Brewer were up to the task and held the Lions scoreless in the second half.

On the other end, the Lion defense held strong and Custer was solid in goal. At the end of the second 40 minutes of action, Batesville held on for the sectional title, 1-0.

The Bulldogs (8-7-1) now move on to the Greensburg regional Saturday. They will face the 13-4-1 Speedway Sparkplugs at noon, following the first semifinal between Danville and Guerin Catholic. The championship would take place at 7 p.m.

Batesville will assume the underdog role, as Speedway (17th), Danville (9th) and Guerin (5th) were all ranked in the final Class 2A top 20 poll by the Indiana Soccer Coaches Association.

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