Vikes move to sectional soccer title game on penalty kicks

Kolton Foster (right), a freshman on the Huntington North High School boys’ soccer team, handles a pass from a teammate as Wayne’s Refik Dogruyol closes in on his position during a game in the semifinals of the Homestead Sectional on Wednesday, Oct. 3. The game came down to penalty kicks, with the Vikings topping the Generals to post a 2-1 win.
Kolton Foster (right), a freshman on the Huntington North High School boys’ soccer team, handles a pass from a teammate as Wayne’s Refik Dogruyol closes in on his position during a game in the semifinals of the Homestead Sectional on Wednesday, Oct. 3. The game came down to penalty kicks, with the Vikings topping the Generals to post a 2-1 win. Photo by Steve Clark.

Penalty kicks propelled the Huntington North High School boys’ soccer team to a 2-1 victory over Wayne in the semifinals of the Homestead Sectional on Wednesday, Oct. 3.

It was déjà vu for both teams as the Vikings topped the Generals, 2-1, on penalty kicks last postseason as well. With the victory, Huntington North, 8-7-3, advances to the sectional championship game, where it will face Homestead, 10-5-3, on Saturday, Oct. 6, at Warsaw at 7 p.m. Homestead beat South Side, 4-1, on Wednesday to punch its ticket to the title tilt.

Huntington North and Wayne, 12-5-1, once again proved to be worthy foils for each other. After a scoreless first half, the Generals found back netting with 25:42 remaining in the second, but the Vikings’ Carter Mertz scored off a pass from Micah Smith in the game’s waning minutes to knot things up and force overtime.

The squads played through both bonus periods, but weren’t able to settle their differences, leading to a finale at the penalty-kick line for the second consecutive year. In the first round of kicks, junior Peyton Miller and his Wayne counterpart each scored. The following round saw junior Tyler Christle get blocked while his General opponent scored to give Wayne a 2-1 edge. Huntington North took care of business in the next two rounds, though, with junior Kyle McGinnis and sophomore Alex Gass both scoring while goalie Aidan Hosler denied both of Wayne’s kicks to give the Vikes a 3-2 advantage. Senior Hunter Hill then stepped up to the stripe for the Vikings in the final round and sent the ball past the Generals’ keeper to give Huntington North the win.

Hosler, a junior, went the distance in goal for the Vikes, making 15 stops while yielding Wayne’s lone score to earn the victory.