NORTH ADAMS, Mass. -- Down a few starters going into the afternoon, down in shots by a margin of 7-1 at half-time and down on the scoreboard five minutes into the second half, the Taconic boys soccer team Tuesday rallied to earn a 2-2 tie against Drury.
Carthy Milondo and Josh Meaney each scored, and Ian McGrath made 11 saves as Taconic improved to 0-1-1 on the season.
Coach Shaun Stannard’s team did a 180 after giving up six corner kicks and the lion’s share of the scoring chances in the first 40 minutes.
“They played a lot better,” Stannard said. “They came together a little bit. Honestly, we’re down five starters today. And the guys who came in worked hard, did their job, and I couldn’t ask for anything more out of those guys.”
Drury had to do a little rallying of its own after Meaney, a JV call-up, got his first varsity goal following a Blue Devils breakdown in the back to give Taconic a 2-1 lead midway through the second half.
“Both goals [allowed] were disappointing,” Drury coach John Jacobbe said. “The first one, we started off with a short corner kick, and we’ve been doing long kicks all year. I don’t know why they thought it was a good time to improvise.
“We’ve got to protect our third of the field, and we’ve got to attack when we get chances. We had so many chances today, and we couldn’t capitalize. … The bottom line, though, giving up two goals in the second half and being down 2-1, at least we found a way to tie it.”
Neither team could put the ball in the net in the first half, and McGrath was a big reason why, stopping seven first-half shots.
“Ian’s our general out there,” Stannard said. “He dictates stuff in the back. He sees it. He points stuff out. And he made some big saves. He keeps us in it.”
Another theme in the first 40 minutes was Drury’s inability to cash in on multiple corner kick opportunities.
“We had no one get a first touch on the ball,” Jacobbe said. “We had one corner kick that we wasted in the side netting. And then we had some scrambles, and Hunter had a ball where he had a chance to cut it back, and he got blocked.
“But we really didn’t have many first touches on corner kicks, and we’ve got to get better at that. We don’t win the ball in the air as well as we’d like both in the midfield and on corner kicks. So that’s something we have to work on.”
Drury finally cashed in on an opportunity in the 45th minute.
Zachary Davignon set up Hunter Sarkis in transition to give the Blue Devils a 1-0 lead.
The Blue Devils had a chance to double that lead less than a minute later when they were awarded a penalty kick. But McGrath made the save to keep it a one-goal margin.
That lead lasted for about 10 minutes before Gavin Bourdon set up Milondo with a cross from the left wing that Milondo deposited in the back of the net to make it 1-1.
Five minutes after that, Meaney took advantage of a Drury breakdown in the back to put one by keeper Kevin Chen (four saves) and give Taconic a 2-1 lead.
It took Drury just two minutes to find the answer. Sarkis’ header in the 18 found the feet of Jackson Sullivan-Bol, who finished to make it 2-2.
Even though Taconic gave up the game’s goal, the tie felt pretty good for a program that started 2018 with an 0-12 record.
And Drury, despite its disappointment over missed scoring chances, came away with a manageable result.
“You know, our goal is to do well in the [Berkshire Count] South, and it’s not a loss,” Jacobbe said. “So, you know, it didn’t kill us, but it feels disappointing with how many opportunities we had.”
Drury goes to Hoosac Valley on Friday while Taconic hosts Mahar.