When teams built on strong goalkeeping, solid defenses, and aggressive offenses collide in soccer, their game can easily end in a draw.
Consider the Catholic League boys' matchup of rivals Archbishop Wood and Father Judge on Saturday. In a battle for sole possession of second place in the league, the host Crusaders tied Wood, 1-1, through two overtimes.
"It was a typical Catholic League game, tough and hard-nosed," Father Judge coach John Dunlop said. "We came out the first 20 minutes trying to execute our game plan, which I thought we were doing. We kind of lost possession of the game, and Wood picked it up in the second half."
Within the game's first three minutes, Dunlop's plan of moving Shane Holmes up front to match the height of Wood's defenders paid off. The junior put a ball past Wood goalkeeper Ryan Hemsley off an assist from Leo Villegas.
Hemsley's counterpart, the Crusaders' Mark Pohl, displayed great range and made eight saves, including two off a penalty kick and an ensuing rebound late in the first half to maintain the lead.
Settling for a draw was disappointing for Pohl, who saw his lead vanish when midfielder Matt McWilliams put a ball into the left side of his net with five minutes left in regulation.
"For me, honestly, it feels like a loss," Pohl said. "We were winning the whole game and gave up a goal in the last five minutes, then missed chances in overtime. It just feels like a loss."
Judge moved to 9-3-2 overall, 6-1-1 in the Catholic League. Wood went to 12-1-2, 6-1-1. La Salle leads the Catholic with a 7-0-1 league mark.
Hemsley, who made five saves, saw Saturday's result as a positive.
"It's always great to play Father Judge," he said. "They are young and very quick. They know how to run. So we had to make sure that we stayed behind them.
"I think we played really well," Hemsley continued. "We had a lot of great chances. We had a couple shots inside the 6-yard line, and a couple a little off the net. Overall, it was a really nice game."
Archbishop Wood 0 1 0 0 - 1
Father Judge 1 0 0 0 - 1
Goals: AW-Matt McWilliams; FJ-Shane Holmes.
Saves: AW-Ryan Hemsley 5; FJ-Mark Pohl 8.