Already trailing 2-1 with 19:51 to play in the game, the Greencastle boys' soccer team could not afford to get down further to Crawfordsville Monday night.
But Tiger Cub goal keeper Ryan Payne was facing a direct kick from the Athenians' Tyler Whittington, who had put a goal past him seven minutes earlier.
Whittington approached the ball and kicked it to Payne's left side, but the keeper stretched out and covered the ball, keeping the game in hand.
The save seemed to give his team the lift it needed to come from behind for a second time on the night, as two late goals from David Cath and Griffin Moore sent GHS (3-0) to a 3-2 win over visiting Crawfordsville (2-1).
"That save by Ryan Payne on the penalty kick was huge," GHS coach Dave Lilly said.
With the Payne save keeping the game close, Lilly said his team had to stay patient and know they could complete the comeback. After Whittington's goal at the 26:30 mark, Crawfordsville had gone into defensive mode, making it more difficult for the Cubs to tie the game.
"I'm glad we stayed patient, and that patience paid off," Lilly said.
With 7:44 on the clock, that patience paid off. Moore got a pass to Cath in the middle, and Crawfordsville goalie Miguel Salazar came out a bit to far to stop the ball. When he mishandled it, Cath got around him and punched in the goal, tying it at two.
With the game tied again, though, Greencastle did not stop attacking, striking again 1:45 later.
Greg Lilly got behind a Crawfordsville defender and ran down the ball on the sideline. Taking the ball to the middle, he sent a pass to Moore, who arched the ball over Salazar's head, giving GHS its first lead with 5:59 left in the game.
"Greg worked really hard to get that ball and then made a great lead to Griffin. Then Griffin made a great shot over his head. That was textbook," Lilly said.
With the lead in hand and less than six minutes on the clock, the Tiger Cubs' best defense was to stay on the attack. Although they made no more serious scoring threats, they kept the ball in Crawfordsville territory much of the last six minutes.
While the Tiger Cubs had spent much of the game behind, the coach said they stayed calm and kept the game in hand until their time to strike came. At halftime, the game may have been tied 1-1, but GHS thought it had the advantage.
"We felt we had given them a goal at halftime," Lilly said. "Even though it was tied, we thought we played a better half."
The goal they had spotted the Athenians came with 34:28 to go in the half. A pass came from the right side, and Payne misjudged it, giving Crawfordsville's Brandon Largent a wide-open goal.
The Athenians led 1-0.
But GHS came back with a goal of its own late in the half. After Moore threw the ball in from the left side, Cath tracked it down on the endline and sent a pass to the middle. Although Salazar got his hands on the ball, it squirted away and Cody Watson sent it to the back of the net, tying the game at one.
The rest of the first half was largely uneventful, except for a couple of big saves from Payne in the final minute of the period.
It was those save, along with the one on the PK that kept the Tiger Cubs in position to make their late run.
After the contest, Coach Lilly was glad to have a win over a quality opponent. The Athenians reached semistate last year and came into Monday undefeated, just like GHS.
"They obviously wanted to use their speed, but we have some good speed too," Lilly said. "We were pretty evenly matched."
In the JV match, the Tiger Cubs built a 3-0 lead in the first half and were able to coast to a 4-0 win over the Athenians. Brandon Query, Cameron Cash, Mitchell Ball and Kyle Parker all had goals in the contest. Jon Good had a pair of assists and Query added one.
Greencastle hosts Danville at 5 p.m. Thursday.
|Crawfordsville||1 1 -- 2|
|Greencastle||1 2 -- 3|
CHS -- Largent, 34:28
GHS -- Watson (Cath ast.), 10:17
CHS -- Whittington, 26:30
GHS -- Cath (G. Moore ast.), 7:44
GHS -- G. Moore, (Lilly ast.), 5:59
Saves -- Payne 9 (GHS).
|Crawfordsville||0 0 -- 0|
|Greencastle||3 1 -- 4|
Goals -- Query, Cash, Ball, Parker.
Assists -- Good (2), Query.
Next match -- Greencastle (3-0, 0-0 WCC) hosts Danville at 5 p.m. Thursday.