GODDARD – In any other circumstance, Thursday evening’s 1-1 tie between the Goddard and Eisenhower girls soccer teams would leave both sides disappointed.
But given the injury situation and how competitive Division II of the Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail League is shaping up to be, neither coach was complaining after not taking a loss.
Both teams are 1-0-1 in league play. Eisenhower is 6-3-1 and Goddard is 6-3-2 overall.
“One of our goals is to hang another banner at Eisenhower,” coach Brandon Sommer said. “That’s still possible.”
Goddard, on the other hand, is feeling more fortunate, as it defeated Valley Center, last season’s runner-up in Class 5A, and tied its rivals in the first week of league play without six players with starter experience out due to injury.
“To get through the first week without a loss with as many injuries as we’ve got is helpful,” Rooney said. “It gives us a chance.”
That’s all either side appeared to be thinking after the game went to halftime tied at one score. Goddard was more than content to pack its defense in the final 60 minutes, and Eisenhower wasn’t too concerned about pushing an extra attacker in the offensive third.
It counts as a tie, but Goddard was the side feeling victorious after keeping Eisenhower’s most dangerous threat – Jaclyn Means – scoreless.
“It feels like a win,” said Goddard’s Kelsey Smith, who drew the Means assignment. “It sucks that it’s a tie with two rival schools, but it feels good for us with as many injuries. I’m feeling good walking off this field.”
Goddard took the 1-0 lead in the 20th minute when Maria Casenove stayed with her run. Her initial shot was blocked by a charging keeper, but it was not smothered and Casenove was able to toe-poke it into the goal.
One referee ruled her to be offside, but after conferring with the head referee, the call was overturned and the goal was allowed.
Eisenhower found its equalizer five minutes later in the first half when junior Heather Bondie capitalized on a turnover in the midfield and boomed a shot from 50 yards out toward goal.
The shot was carried by the wind and sailed just inside the goal post and past the outstretched arm of the keeper. It was the first goal of the season for Bondie.
“I like taking chances from farther out,” Bondie said. “Those are actually the ones that I usually get. So when I see a drop and I get a chance, I’m going to take that shot.”
But with as much as Eisenhower dominated possession in the second half and two overtimes, Sommer and the Tigers were left wondering what could have been.
“It’s kind of a sour taste in our mouth,” Sommer said. “That’s what we’ve struggled with all season long, having possession and building up but not being able to put shots on frame.”
First half – Goddard, Casenove (unassisted); Eisenhower, Bondie (unassisted). Shots – Goddard 4-1-1-0 – 6, Eisenhower 4-3-1 – 8. Saves – Goddard, Lawrence 3-2-1-1 – 7; Eisenhower, Ferreira 2-0-0 – 2.