Class B: Columbus freshman Adrian Pedraza scores game-winning goal in the second half

Columbus goalie Daniel Melendez-Bermudez makes a save Thursday, helping to keep the Minutemen scoreless in a 1-0 victory.

A fresh face decided a game that lacked much beauty Thursday night.

Class B No. 4 Columbus used a second-half goal from freshman Adrian Pedraza to knock off sixth-ranked Lexington 1-0 in the first round of the boys tournament.

“The effort from both teams was incredible,” Columbus coach John Arlt said of the rematch between conference foes. “I’m not saying the soccer was pretty at times, but you couldn’t fault the effort of both teams.”

Columbus moved into Saturday’s 3 p.m. semifinal to take on unbeaten Elkhorn South. It’s the second straight semifinal appearance for the Discoverers, who were bounced by eventual champion Columbus Scotus a year ago.

Thursday’s only score came on a loose ball that Pedraza poked in from straight out at the top of the box in the 54th minute. It was his second goal of the season.

The traffic around Pedraza made it hard to see what happened in the sequence.

“All I saw was two centerbacks fall down and the ball in the back of the net,” Lexington coach Jess McHargue said. “That’s soccer. We knew it was going to be a fun one tonight, just didn’t bounce our way. Just didn’t happen tonight.”

Neither team mustered much offense. They combined for seven shots all night.

“Obviously, our back line played really well,” Arlt said. “But our defense did a nice job of making sure we weren’t outnumbered on the back because their two forwards (are) fast and pretty big.”

The teams squared off a little over two weeks ago in the regular-season finale for both, a game Columbus won 2-0. McHargue called showdowns between the two “slug matches.”

“We know each other so well,” Arlt said. “I knew it was going to be something where it wasn’t something real pretty tonight.”

But style points didn’t matter as the Discoverers made the semifinal round for the third time in five seasons.

Arlt said matching up with top-ranked Elkhorn South will be another test for his group.

“It’s kind of like last year with Scotus again,” he said. “We really have to step up our level. The guys want the challenge, so that part I like.”

Columbus (13-6)...........0 1—1

Lexington (16-4)...........0 0—0

Goals: C, Adrian Pedraza.

Nick covers high school soccer, wrestling and other sports for The World-Herald.

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