It’s not like they’d never seen it before, but Brienne Reischl said St. Cloud Tech’s defensive system put her St. Cloud Apollo Eagles out of sync.
“It catches you off-guard,” the Apollo senior said. “We don’t see it very much.”
For Tech, its zone defense was implemented out of desperation.
It worked well Thursday night at St. Cloud State’s Husky Stadium.
Tech and Apollo’s girls soccer teams played to a 0-0 double-overtime tie.
“We wanted that goal,” Apollo senior goalkeeper Liz Lowery said. “Tech was in that defense and it was tough to get one past them.”
Tech changed defenses five games ago and it has resulted in three 0-0 ties.
The Tigers, in fact, haven’t scored a goal since beating Apollo on Sept. 4.
Why change defenses? “We had to,” Tech had coach Eric Olson said.
The Tigers (1-4-3 Central Lakes, 1-9-3) have been decimated by injuries and needed to try something. Tatum Peterson, one of their top offensive players, is out with a broken ankle. Madeline Severson, another offensive threat, is out with an anterior cruciate ligament injury.
“There are pluses and minuses with it,” Olson said of the zone. “For us, it gives us a chance if we can keep a team to zero or one goal.”
Thursday, they kept it to zero.
And it wasn’t from a lack of trying on the Eagles’ part.
Apollo was the aggressor most of the evening and had by far the better chances, though neither team mounted much of an offense in the first half.
“They played good,” Apollo head coach Namik Babic said of his team. “But we didn’t keep our composure, especially in the last third of the game.
“Composure was the biggest flaw in our game … Our focus was off a little bit. Other than that, I’m satisfied. We played good, decent.”
Neither team did much in the relatively uneventful overtime sessions.
Apollo (5-3-2, 6-4-3) remains in third in the conference behind Brainerd and Alexandria. The Eagles play at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Fergus Falls.
It’s safe to say the tie was frustrating for the Eagles, who were on the wrong end of Tech’s only win this season.
“We have a fast team,” said Lowery, who recorded the shutout and had one highlight save midway through the second half. “We just weren’t able to poke a ball through their defense.
“We just couldn’t get that initial ball through.”
Tech, meanwhile, plays at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Alexandria.
“They (the Tigers) played very well tonight,” Olson said. “They played hard.
“I thought our defense played better than it has been. We played pretty good team defense and if we get a break, we have a chance to win. I told the kids at halftime: ‘Let’s make sure that zero stays on the Apollo side of the scoreboard and see if we can’t get a chance to put one through.'”
It didn’t happen, but it was a tie. For Tech, it was a good one.