Devils, Hurricanes Settle for Controversial DrawNORTH ADAMS, Mass. -- They say ties are like kissing your sister. If that's the case, the Hoosac Valley boys' soccer team must have felt like its big sister punched it in the face and and stepped on its toes after the Hurricanes were forced to settle for a disappointing 1-1 tie with rival Drury on Friday afternoon.
After battling the Blue Devils on a wet, slippery field for over 79 minutes, the Hurricanes' Matt Waltermire broke free from his defender on the right side, made a few other Drury players miss with some fancy footwork and slotted a ball to the middle of the field to Tyler Bisaillon. The senior forward took the ball outside of the Devils' goal box and blasted a shot into the top-right corner of the net.
The Hoosac players went nuts, celebrating like they had just one their first game of the season and reveling in the fact that they had beaten their archrivals on their home field.
Then, in a matter of moments, doubt and confusion set in.
Blue Devils head coach Greg Caproni was seen jumping around near midfield, demanding an explanation from the referees. League rules state that the referees keep their official time on their watches and that they blow the whistle when time expires. At Berkshire County soccer fields which keep the time on the scoreboards, the scoreboard operator is told to stop the clock at 2:00 in case there is a discrepancy between the officials' time and scoreboard.
The referees told both coaches on the field when there was one minute left in the game. Caproni said he set his watch at that time and when he looked at his watch again after the Hurricanes scored, it read 1:16, meaning 16 seconds had been added on to the game and giving Hoosac extra time to score the game-winning goal.
After a brief discussion between the two referees at midfield, Bisaillon's goal was waved off and the game was ruled a 1-1 tie. It was an extremely difficult pill for Hoosac head coach Nate Girard to swallow and one that left him searching for answers.
"When I asked [the referee] how much time is left, and he says a minute, I have my clock start on the sidelines," Girard said. "The minute ends two seconds after the goal was scored as they're picking the ball up in the net. So when he tells me the time, I expect the time to be right. It's just kind of the way it goes.
"It's a tough way to end it."
Caproni feels like the time was correct and that one of the referees simply forgot to blow his whistle when time expired.
"When we put ourselves in a position to give up a corner kick late in the game, I shouted out to make sure the whistle gets blown at the end of 40 minutes," Caproni said. "In soccer, the time is always on the field with one of the referees. They score, they put the ball in the back of the net, i look at my clock and I have 16 seconds over. Something was wrong that gave them some extra time. I guess one of the officials was supposed to have the time on the field and he didn't know if the other official was supposed to do it. It was definitely a mix up.
"In my mind, they made the right call by calling off of the goal."
Taking away Bisaillon's goal definitely took some thunder away from what would have been the Hurricanes' statement win of the season so far. After basically "not showing up" in a 10-0 loss to Mount Greylock last week, Girard's squad came back with two very solid performances in its last two games. Hoosac (0-4-1) outshot St. Joe's 19-5 on Tuesday, but settled for a narrow 2-1 loss on the road. The 'Canes outshot Drury (2-2-1) 9-8 and held a decisive 7-1 edge in corner kicks on Friday, taking the lead on goal by senior Aaron Wojtaszek in the fifth minute of the game.
Wojtaszek took a nice drop ball from classmate Chris Stefanik and finished with a left-footed shot into the panel. Hoosac nearly doubled its lead just before halftime when sophomore Sean Ryan-Kut got to a rebound that slipped off the wets hands of Blue Devils keeper Joseph Liporace (six saves). His shot angled across the mouth of the goal, eventually hitting off the left post without any weak-side help in sight.
The Hurricanes kept the pressure on in the second half, and senior Austin Felter did a great job of shadowing Drury forward Jake Tietgens, one of the more dangerous scoring threats in Berkshire County. The improvement of Hoosac's overall effort and execution in the last week is definitely something Girard is taking notice of.
"Our team is moving the ball and communicating a lot better," Girard said. "Ultimately, we're working a lot harder. That's what it really breaks down to. It's getting to positions and placements on the field where you have opportunities to convert. They have a good player in Tietgens, and we really marked him all game long. We put Austin Felter on him, and Tietgens probably had a total of a dozen ball touches all day. We really put high pressure, especially with a wet field, on the keeper and on the balls as much as we could."
After a sluggish start, the Blue Devils rallied in the second half, tying the game on a goal by Rik Brown six minutes after halftime. The goal was set up by junior Jacob Groves, who found Brown alone on the right side of the field. Brown beat 'Canes goalie Tom Galisa (five saves) to the ball and nailed a shot just under the crossbar for the game-tying goal.
The Drury defense then stepped up to protect the lead. With balls being particularly hard to clear on a wet field, the Blue Devils got a volley-kick save off the goal line by defender Nolan Woods and another block by Groves that could have also led to a goal. Tietgens had one late chance with just under four minutes remaining to give Drury a dramatic win. He used a nice cut-back move to break away from Waltermire and get a great look at the goal. HIs shot, however, sailed just over the crossbar.
"Jake Tietgens had that breakaway where he had his chance," Caproni said. "He had his chance to finish the game. He knew it, and we knew it. We had our chances and they had their chances. We knew the field conditions would be a little hard, so we tried to play the ball up over the top a little more today to use the speed of our forwards to break through their backline.
"The fact that our defense was able to keep off them off the scoreboard in the second half just shows our resilency and our ability to dig down deep. This team has come so far from last year. We seem to be starting slow, however. In the past three out of four halves, we've given up a goal within the first five minutes of a half, so we've really got to work on our mental toughness at the start and end of each half."
Drury next plays at Taconic at 6 p.m. on Monday, while Hoosac hosts Wahconah at the same time on Tuesday night.