The St. Patrick boys’ soccer team is spending their final week of the regular season finding the right places for players before the 38th District Tournament starts next week.
It looked like the Saints found a formula that might work at the beginning of the second half on Wednesday when Marvin Koch’s goal gave them a 1-0 lead, but a late George Rogers Clark free kick from Emido Piedra evened the game before it was called with roughly six minutes remaining due to darkness, resulting in a 1-1 draw.
“They’re just feeling it out. The first half was kind of scrappy and it was just trying to find their way. They got a little bit more comfortable in the second half,” said St. Patrick coach Michael Parsons. “Some bad calls went both ways and kind of messed up our morale. A couple mistakes here, a couple mistakes there led them to tie it up.”
St. Patrick is missing a key piece of their team in goalkeeper Caleb Poczatek, who is on a mission trip in Haiti and will be gone for district play. Freshman Alain Lopez, who was an offensive threat earlier in the season and has seven goals and three assists on the year, got his second start in the net on Wednesday.
“I had to shift a few people to replace his position, move Pedro [Briseno] up to striker. I toyed around with Pedro playing defensive mid instead of attacking mid and then brought him back up in the second half,” said Parsons. “It’s a challenge to say the least, but I think they’ve played good overall.”
Lopez helped keep St. Patrick in the game throughout the first half, saving all three shots on goal the Cardinals had.
But on the other end, GRC keeper Tayman Hayes also had a clean sheet going through the first 40 minutes.
St. Patrick found some openings at the start of the second half and broke the tie when Koch put a low shot from the left side of the field past Hayes.
The Saints stayed ahead with several stops from Lopez, who finished with nine saves on the evening, until the 69th minute when Lopez attempted to clear the ball with a punt and stepped outside the box, resulting in a GRC direct kick.
“He always plays pretty well. He played well last night when we played Holy Cross and he continued to play well tonight. I’m pretty proud,” said Parsons.
“Everybody makes mistakes. You’re going to make mistakes on the field, it’s just how you come back from it,” added Parsons.
With multiple Cardinals standing over the ball, Piedra put a shot in the back of the net to make it 1-1.
“We’ve been kind of plagued with not giving 100 percent 100 percent of the time. I had to sub in a couple guys that were young guys just to kind of shake them up a little bit and that kind of switched everything,” said GRC coach Walter Ridener. “My young guys went up top and they made some things happen.”
Neither team could score before darkness set in and the game was called with roughly six minutes remaining.
St. Patrick moves to 5-7-2 with the draw. The Saints have a final tune up at Walton-Verona on Friday before traveling to Pendleton County to take on Harrison County in the 38th District semifinals on Monday.
The result moves the Cardinals to 4-11-3. They’ll host Sayre on Thursday before taking on Bourbon County in the 39th District Tournament on Tuesday.
SAINTS 1, CARDINALS 1
GEORGE ROGERS CLARK — 0-1— 1
ST. PATRICK — 0-1— 1
Goals: (SP) Koch 46th minute, (GRC) Piedra 69th minute
Shots (On goal): George Rogers Clark 18 (10), St. Patrick 17 (9)
Corners: George Rogers Clark 4, St. Patrick 4
Saves: George Rogers Clark (Tayman Hayes) 8 St. Patrick (Lopez) 9
Records: George Rogers Clark 4-11-3, St. Patrick 5-7-2