FORTVILLE — The Greenfield-Central boys soccer team mostly contained one prolific scorer to win a sectional championship on Saturday.
The Cougars ran up against another dangerous striker Thursday in the regional semifinal and didn’t fare as well.
A hat trick by Gaston Pondal lifted Warren Central to a 3-1 win over Greenfield-Central at the Mt. Vernon Regional.
WC (10-6-2) advanced to the championship to face Center Grove (15-3-1) Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Two years ago, the Cougars (11-8) won a sectional title and moved through the regional semis before falling in the championship to Center Grove 1-0.
G-C had hoped to get another postseason crack at the Trojans. The Cougars claimed their second sectional championship in three years on Saturday with a 2-1 (14-13 PK) win over Mt. Vernon, in which MV’s Mouhamed Konate, Hancock County’s all-time leading goal scorer, had one goal through 94 minutes of regulation and overtime.
Pondal, a senior forward and the Warriors’ leading scorer this season, made penetrating the G-C defense Thursday — including two goals in a two-minute span of the second half — look relatively easy.
“I think we gave him a couple, I really do,” G-C coach Jared Manning said. “I mean he’s a good player, don’t get me wrong. But I think we made a couple mistakes and he capitalized on them. A missed touch here, a missed touch there.
“We told our boys all week that if we make a mistake, they’re going to capitalize on it. They’re a good team. Probably the best Warren Central team that I’ve seen in my years coaching.”
Pondal notched his first goal with 26 minutes, 54 seconds remaining in the first half and, despite WC out-shooting the Cougars 10-5, the Warriors’ lead remained 1-0 at the break.