Stars drive through the obstacles for 5-1 win over Mitchell

BNL’s Isaiah Conner cuts between Mitchell defenders. Conner scored a second-half goal as the Stars conquered the Bluejackets 5-1 on Thursday.

By Justin Sokeland

BEDFORD – Mitchell parked everything but a Carpenter’s school bus in front of the goal, even an imposing 6-foot-8 keeper with a huge wingspan. Bedford North Lawrence still found the back of the net.

The Stars worked their way through a maze of bodies on the attacking end to record a 5-1 victory over the Bluejackets on Thursday afternoon. Adriano Sullivan scored twice and J.D. Miskuf dished out three assists to spark BNL (2-0) to another victory in the county rivalry.

Ball control and constant pressure took a toll as the Stars fired 31 shots at Mitchell goalie Nate Robertson, who made a few sensational saves but couldn’t dodge or deflect all the missiles headed his direction. BNL, facing a similar style to the Scottsburg strategy in the opener, found the cracks.

“It was almost deja vu,” BNL coach Ryan Otis said. “They let us control the midfield, let us get down there, and when we got to the final third, they collapsed on us. They were parking the bus, getting us to drive in there, and then counter attack. That’s where we have to learn to spread them out a little more, have those crisp passes to get a shot.”

BNL started the scoring with 20:14 left in the first half. Miskuf rifled a ball across the goal crease from the left wing, and Robertson missed a diving attempt to clear the ball away. BNL’s Grant Beyers was in perfect position to gather and find the open net. Sullivan made it 2-0 at 16:42 off another Miskuf feed.

BNL’s Adriano Sullivan makes a move against Mitchell’s Aiden Pridemore.

In the second half, BNL added goals from Isaiah Conner (at 27:41), J.D. Russell (a left-footed flick via the third Miskuf assist at 15:35) and Sullivan (who gathered and deposited a soft shot from in front following a Noah Childers corner kick with 1:18 left).

The Bluejackets (0-2) showed improved organization. Consider that the program started last season with only seven players. Now there’s 22 on the roster. And one of them – Kody Earl – got Mitchell on the board with 22:55 left in the second half.

“We’re trying to change things,” new coach Nicholas Karr said. “It takes a while to build up. We’re working on the basics. I know our goalie was under a lot of pressure, and that’s not what a coach wants to see. You don’t want the best stat to be goal saves.”

BNL will have to work on converting more of those high shot totals, and on maintaining intensity for the full time.

“We did in both halves, we have a lull in the middle,” Otis said. “We need to work on consistency. We have to be even more crisp, better on first touches. There was a little bit of cushion, but we know we have to step it up.”

BNL will visit Bloomington South on Tuesday.

BNL’s Grant Beyers steps into a shot. Beyers scored the first BNL goal.