Trailing at halftime to unbeaten Coshocton, Granville coach Shawn King urged his team to be physical.
“I told them to play tougher, get back to Granville soccer and win the 50-50 balls,” King said.
The Blue Aces responded, but it wasn’t enough as they rallied for a 1-1 tie they felt should have been a victory Wednesday.
“When we went down, it was shocking,” said junior Tyler Thomas, who scored the tying goal. “We showed some fight to come back, and the second half was definitely ours. We felt like we should have won the match, but we’re getting there.”
Coshocton (5-0-1) hadn’t allowed a goal all season — outscoring opponents 35-0 — and the Blue Aces (3-1-1) had only lost to DeSales. The match lived up to its billing.
“They had good size and good speed, and normally we’re bigger and faster than most of the Licking County teams,” King said. “It was a good challenge, a good look at what we’ll see in the district.”
Granville started with a 6-2 advantage in shots on goal, with Dylan Howarth just missing on a pair of early opportunities. But the Redskins became the aggressor, getting four consecutive shots on goal before Colton Jordan scored on a long pass from Wilmer Marquez with 4:09 left for a 1-0 halftime lead.
With 22:53 to play, Thomas got loose and shot just above the goal. But at 17:53, Coshocton misfired on a pass back to goalie Marc Smith and Thomas was there to left-foot home the tying goal, the first allowed by the Redskins.
Senior Brad Burkholder almost had the game-winner with 6:35 left, but a diving Smith was able to grab the shot by the edge of his fingertips. Granville goalie Sam Gress also made a couple of nice stops, grabbing two loose balls in front of the net.
Shots on goal were tied 13-13 and each goalie had 10 saves. Coshocton held a 5-4 edge in corner kicks.
“It was fun. That’s the caliber of team we need to play to get better,” Redskins coach Brian Dunlap said. “We lost our composure a little there in the second half, got rattled and that’s from not playing as much competition as we should have. We had a bad back side pass, made a mistake, and that happens. We’ll learn from it and get better.”
Thomas called it a tournament-style game.
“It was so fast paced,” he said. “It was physical, and that’s the way we need to play.”
“It was a winnable game,” King said. “We made adjustments, and the kids understand that we need to finish goals in the second half so we can win the game, and not tie.”