BOYS' SOCCER: Trojans tie EaglesOn “Meet the Trojans” night, the Worthington boys’ soccer team and the Southwest Christian Eagles entertained the crowd at Trojan Field with a high-scoring first half as each side found the back of the netting three times.
By: Lance Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
On “Meet the Trojans” night, the Worthington boys’ soccer team and the Southwest Christian Eagles entertained the crowd at Trojan Field with a high-scoring first half as each side found the back of the netting three times.
However, neither side was able to take the advantage following halftime and through two 5-minute overtimes as the non-conference match ended in a 3-3 draw.
The two evenly-matched sides, which both entered the contest with 5-5 records, countered goals and neither was able to garner more than a one- goal lead.
In the opening minutes, both teams made advances, but it was the hosts that got on the board first as Mu Lar Taw found Josh Kleve upfield in the box.
Kleve was able to work his way around the SWC defenders to put a shot on Eagle keeper Caleb Esselink.
Esselink (14 saves) deflected Kleve’s initial advance, but the Trojan junior midfielder stuck with the ball and managed to tap it in the net at the 7:59 mark.
“On my goal, it started off when I got the ball in the box from a pass,” Kleve said. “I hit the ball and it deflected back (off the goalie) and I was able to get it in the goal.”
The 1-0 Trojan lead didn’t last long, though, as the Eagles earned the game’s first corner kick in the 10th minute.
SWC forward Eric Talsma sent the corner into the box, but the chance was directed just out by the WHS defense.
However, Eagle defender Silas Top collected the ball before the Trojans could clear it further and fired a shot from atop the box right at Trojan keeper Kody Honius (12 saves).
Honius managed to stop Top’s shot, but when the rebound leaked away from him, SWC striker Nathan Pfeifle rifled the rebound into the goal to even the score at 1-1.
The score didn’t remain tied for long as Pfeifle struck again in the 12th minute as the senior forward was able to draw a penalty inside the box to earn a penalty kick.
Pfeifle kicked his penalty chance right at Honius and the keeper deflected the ball straight up, but before WHS was able clear the chance, the Eagles had taken a 2-1 lead as Pfeifle recorded his second goal at the 12:09 mark.
That was the only lead of the game for the visitors and it didn’t last long as the Trojan knotted the match 34 seconds later when Kleve received a pass from midfield and closed in on the SWC goal.
As Kleve worked his way into the box, he angled a soft shot from right to left past Esselink that sophomore midfielder Jesus Ordaz finished with a tap into the corner of the net to tie the game.
While each side posted a pair of scores in the first 13 minutes, the contest settled into a back-and-forth event for the balance of the opening half, as each side had chances but couldn’t capitalize to unknot the score.
Pfeifle nearly completed the hat trick in the 16th minute when he just missed on a header chance off of a free kick, while Ordaz had chances for WHS that he couldn’t finish off in the 25th and 28th minutes.
Victor Meza also provided some chances for the Trojans, as he sent in a 30-yard free kick right at Esselink in the 20th minute and provided Andrew Johnson with a header opportunity in the 30th minute on a corner kick.
It wasn’t until there was less than two minutes left in the half when the Trojans were able to regain the advantage as Mark Demuth received a feed from Johnson and used a header to place the ball into the left side of the goal for a 3-2 lead.
SWC quickly responded to draw the match even in the final minute of the half as the Eagles capitalized on a failed Trojan clearing attempt inside the box.
Kaleb Schelhaas was there to collect the failed clearance chance and kicked it past a diving Honius with 51 seconds left before the break to tie the contest at three.
“We made some mistakes in the first half,” WHS assistant coach Cristian Banaegas said. “That let them tie the game up.”
Following the intermission, Ordaz gave the Trojans a great chance to regain the lead, but was stopped on a close-range shot 15 seconds into half.
Both teams had chances to take the lead throughout the second half, but the respective defenses tightened up following the high-scoring first half as most of the action was played in the midfield.
Onel Chavez had several nice clearance kicks for the Trojans throughout the game, while Clayton Huisken provided the Eagles with clearance kicks of his own.
With 20 minutes left in regulation, Dominic Nibbelink earned a free kick from about 40 yards out that was sent right at Honius that the Trojan keeper had to leap up at. Fortunately for the Trojans, Honius managed to get his hands on the ball, tipping it into the crossbar.
After the Trojans cleared the ball away, the hosts pressured the Eagle goal and also got stopped by the crossbar as Hugo Monterroso sent a close shot high and into it the bar.
Jose Bahena provided WHS with its next good scoring chance with 12 minutes left, but he kicked his shot right at Esselink for an easy save.
“Hugo tried to put that one in and it just hit the top bar,” Banegas said. “Then Jose had that chance and he kicked it right at the goalie. We had some chances and just couldn’t finish them.”
As regulation came to a close, both sides had put 14 shots on goal, although the visitors maintained a slight edge in the time of possession battle.
In the overtime periods, it was WHS that controlled the action, putting two shots on goal in the first overtime and one in the second overtime, while SWC didn’t manage a shot in the first overtime and got one in the second overtime.
WHS had the final opportunity to win the game as the hosts earned a free kick in the final minute, but couldn’t close it out as the game ended in a draw.
“We had the chance to score so many times, but we couldn’t finish it,” Banegas said. “We had good pressure and hustle throughout the game. I was happy with how hard the kids played.”
The draw moves both squads to records of 5-5-1. The Trojans host Fairmont Monday, while the Eagles host Central Minnesota Christian Saturday.
SWC 3 0 0 0 – 3
WHS 3 0 0 0 – 3