Tigers, Grizzlies scrap to 1-1 tie
After playing on even terms through 80 minutes on Friday night, the Douglas and Galena boys soccer teams were greeted by a well-deserved round of applause from fans on both sides of the field.
Galena maintained control through the first half, however, the Tigers took over in the second half and rallied to pull out a 1-1 tie during their Senior Night contest at Keith Roman Field.
“The team really pulled together and started connecting on passes,” said Edgar Hernandez, one of six Douglas seniors recognized during a ceremony at halftime. “I think we showed more confidence in the second half. The seniors at halftime, we all got emotional. We were pumped up to get the W. We didn’t quite get it but we still played way better than we did in the first half.”
Douglas (4-6-3 league, 8-6-4 overall) erased a 1-0 deficit in the 52nd minute when Koby Hinnant ran down a through ball from teammate Alex Sanz and then beat the goalkeeper one-on-one to score the equalizer.
Hinnant knew scoring opportunities would not come easily against a Galena (7-2-3, 8-3-3) team that has allowed 16 goals this season.
“It was amazing, honestly,” Hinnant said of the pass from Sanz. “I had just got back in the game so when I saw the ball, I said, ‘Hey, this is my moment,’ and I just ran after it … and it worked out.”
Sanz, an exchange student from Spain, found an opening near midfield to get the through ball downfield.
“When I got it through, I knew he was going to have a chance to score,” he said.
The Tigers had a number of other opportunities to win the game outright. In the 48th minute, senior Micah Miller placed a perfect throw-in at the mouth of the goal, however, the Tigers were unable to get a foot on the ball before the ball was cleared out. A short time later, Miller struck a through ball down the middle that Hinnant was unable to catch up with before Galena’s goalkeeper came out to corral the ball. Then in the 60th minute, Flavi Lopez blasted a shot from 15 yards out that caromed off the crossbar.
“We definitely had some opportunities,” Hinnant said. “We just need to work on our finishing.”
Hernandez came through with a big play on the defensive end in the 25th minute when he disrupted a potential breakaway.
Galena came back one minute later to take its 1-0 lead.
Douglas goalkeeper Luke Heinrichs collected four saves on the night, three in the first half.
“I think the difference was, we all got together like a family and decided to pull together,” Hernandez said.
Sanz added that the Senior Night crowd gave the team a lift. “All the great support we had from all the fans really helped us,” he said.
The Tigers were motivated after absorbing an 8-1 defeat at home Wednesday against undefeated Wooster.
“The last game, that was bad; we didn’t want to get beat like that at home again, and tonight, we stood up and defended our home territory,” Hernandez said. “This (game) made us see our team has the potential to do way better.”