The McDonell/Regis boys soccer team managed to salvage a 2-2 tie with Columbus Catholic thanks to a goal by John Wampler in the 84th minute at Casper Park on Tuesday.
The Dons scored early in the second half to take a 2-1 lead, but the Saints were eventually rewarded in their pursuit of the tying goal late in the match.
“We played a little flat today,” Saints coach Joe Cash said. “We really got away with one in getting a result in a tie today...But at the same time, we continued to grind and find a way. It wasn’t the prettiest result for us today, but we’ll take it for sure.”
The two teams traded first half goals to enter the break tied at one. Austin Erickson scored for the Saints on a penalty kick to get them on the board.
In the 54th minute, the Dons managed to take the lead on a ball that pulled the Saints’ goalkeeper away from the goal, and the Columbus Catholic forward slid it underneath him to break the tie.
“Kudos to the other team, they were definitely more disciplined defensively than we were today,” Cash said.
The Saints had a golden opportunity in the 64th minute when Zach Yengo carved through the Columbus Catholic defense with a series of dribbles in heavy traffic, but his shot was saved to deny what would have been a remarkable piece of individual play-making.
McDonell/Regis kept the pressure on, and in the 76th minute Joey Huffcutt found himself in a situation similar to the one that resulted in Columbus Catholic’s second goal. However, his shot went wide around the charging keeper.
Yengo made another run through the Dons’ defense in the 78th minute, but sailed his shot over the goal with time starting to run out.
Ultimately, Wampler stepped up to save the Saints. He received the ball from Yengo on a quick-hitting counterattack on the left sideline and sent the ball into the top right corner of the net for the tying goal.
“Boys didn’t play bad by any means, we just weren’t at our best. They’re capable of much better,” Cash said.
McDonell/Regis was coming off of a busy weekend which saw them finish in second place in tournament action in Three Lakes.
“I don’t know if they’re just still recovering, recouping from that, but our energy on Saturday was magnificent. Today, (it was) flat,” Cash said.
As for the program’s tumultuous first month of the season in which the team didn’t have a coach for almost two weeks, Cash said things are finally settling down a bit.
“It’s starting to feel a little better now. At least I know who’s who in the zoo and kind of figured out my bench and reserves. Starting to sort out who plays where, that sort of stuff,” he said.
The Saints (3-2-2) travel to Black River Falls on Thursday for a nonconference match.