CUYAHOGA FALLS: Physical play on the pitch brings added intensity to any soccer match.
The boys’ soccer teams from St. Vincent-St. Mary and host Cuyahoga Falls experienced that first-hand Thursday night at Laybourne Field, where just about every player on both sides fell to the grass after a collision with an opponent.
Every possession was challenged.
And just about every coach, player and fan in attendance were on their feet shouting in the match’s final minutes.
Despite everyone’s best efforts though, neither side emerged victorious, as the match ended in a 3-3 draw.
“It was definitely very physical, but hey, you are going to have that,” Falls first-year coach Eric Ortopan said. “You are concerned about a player’s safety, but you can learn something from this type of game.
“I think it went both ways, but as much as both teams were chirping at the referees, I think they were consistent in allowing the game to be physical.”
St. V-M (2-4-1) took a 1-0 lead three minutes into the match when junior Brandon Luebbering scored a goal on a header following a corner kick by junior Bradley Walter.
Falls (3-2-1) drew even at 1-1 a minute later, when junior Devin Tulley scored a goal from just inside the midfield stripe, 48 yards away.
Junior Jake Earnest made it 2-1 Falls with a goal in the seventh minute off an assist by senior Dylan Lias.
The Black Tigers extended their advantage to 3-1 in the 29th minute with a goal by senior Khagen Subedi. Earnest picked up an assist.
“That was Khagen’s first varsity goal,” Ortopan said. “He brought a spark to the game.”
The Irish recovered to score two goals in the second half. Senior Dylan Labbe cut the Irish deficit to 3-2 in the 49th minute off an assist by senior JJ Pianalto, and then the score was 3-3 after an own goal in the 63rd minute. St. V-M senior Ryan Bennett booted a shot towards the Falls net, and then the ball was redirected into the net following a deflection off a Black Tigers defender.
“I didn’t expect it to be this physical,” St. V-M first-year coach Phil Alvord said. “I think we were not ready for that mentality. It took us a whole half to wake up and adjust to the intensity.
“I’m disappointed, yes, but I’m happy because we came from behind in the second half.
‘‘I’m happy that we created a lot of opportunities, but I’m disappointed that we did not finish more of our shots.”
Falls held an 11-8 advantage in shots on goal, and St. V-M had a 4-2 edge in corner kicks.
“We knew they would come out in the second half stronger,” Ortopan said.
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or email@example.com. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.