McCutcheon and West Lafayette boys’ soccer teams battled to a rough-and-tumble 3-3 tie at the Salisbury Athletic Complex Thursday night.
Both teams viewed the outcome differently, though.
McCutcheon (3-2-1), which was hoping to build on its winning record, saw a 2-1 second-half lead slip away and had to battle back to just to get the tie.
“It was not the outcome we expected, but my hat’s off to West Lafayette for the way they played,” McCutcheon coach Boyd Wheeler said. “We started to play a little more team pressure in the second half, and that opened up some more opportunities for us. There were many more opportunities for us to calm down and play well.”
For West Lafayette (0-4-1), which was looking for its first victory of the season, the tie against a rival was proof of progress.
“The good thing is that we’re getting better with each practice and each game, and we did tonight,” West Lafayette coach Andrew Kiernan said. “We have conference to prepare for now. We don’t have to be great tonight. We have to be great when we see these guys again in sectionals.”
West Lafayette midfielder Free Burton broke away and scored the game’s first goal less than two minutes into the contest.
“In the first 10 seconds of the game, we had a through ball and I missed that one, but the next time down it happened again,” Burton said. “After that goal, we were so fired up. We just had a few mistakes that cost us in the end.”
McCutcheon tied the game 1-1 with 18:16 to go in the half when Jake Shake found the right corner of the net on a penalty kick.
The scored stayed tied until the second half, when McCutcheon’s Danison Cruz scored off an assist by Sean Nicol at the 31:55 mark. Four minutes later, though, Trevor Paul scored a goal that hit the high right corner of the net off a pass from Burton to knot the score again at 2-all.
“These guys never give up,” Kiernan said. “We’ve been down a lot this season. I won’t say anything about the penalty kick, but we battled tonight. When it’s a county school coming in, it’s always a battle. You know it’s going to be war for 80 minutes.”
The momentum seemed to swing in West Lafayette’s favor when Julian Roemer scored with 14:40 left on a rebound of a free kick by Clemens Reisenbichler. The Red Devil lead, though, lasted only until 13:13, when McCutcheon’s Chase Bennett received a pass from Pedro Zaldivar for a breakaway goal.
“Being able to score that fast after they scored was a key factor in game,” Bennett said. “I was hoping it would give us enough momentum to come back and win the game. We were out to get each other tonight, but we’ll see them again in sectionals.”