When the scheduled game between the Staples and Westhill girls soccer teams had to be postponed until Thursday afternoon, Wreckers coach Barry Beattie sent a teasing text to his counterpart with the Vikings, Dave Flower.
“Let’s play a boring tie,” Beattie recalled with a laugh.
The teams indeed played to a draw on Thursday.
The Vikings came away feeling more buoyant about the outcome after scoring four straight goals in the final 30 minutes to overcome a 4-0 deficit and earn a 4-4 draw.
“It almost feels a little like a loss, just because of how the game went,” Beattie said. “If you told me we’d go to Westhill and get a tie, I’d say great, brilliant. But not when it is 4-0 with 30 minutes to go.”
Sophomore Claudia Benz scored the final three goals for the Vikings, who moved to 8-1-3 two days after suffering their first loss, to St. Joseph. The equalizer came in the 79th minute.
“We’re pretty happy because a game against Staples is pretty intense,” Benz said. “We were all pretty bummed at halftime but our coach gave us positive feedback and told us we could come back.”
The Vikings remained in third place in the conference standings with 27 points heading into the final two weeks of the regular season, one point ahead of Staples, which is now 8-2-2.
The Wreckers erupted early, with Tia Zajec scoring first and Charlotte Rossi adding a pair of goals for a 3-0 halftime lead.
“Three-nil at the half and we were playing well and looking pretty good,” Beattie said.
Beattie was feeling more confident when Zajec added her second goal after the break for what looked like an insurmountable lead.
But another Westhill sophomore, Corinne Dente, scored a beautiful goal to jumpstart the comeback.
“Corinne Dente had an unreal finish and once they scored the first goal they just took off,” Beattie said. “They got the momentum. I have to give Westhill credit. They could have hung their heads. And Dave made some great tactical changes.”
Benz said the Vikings’ confidence mounted after Dente struck.
“Our captains told us we weren’t going to lose the game,” Benz said. “My second goal I dribbled after I got a through pass and I shot it and it was the same way with the next goal. We’ll take the tie.”
Beattie said Flower actually hired him for his first coaching job in the U.S. five years ago, when he was living in London. Beattie has been the Wreckers’ coach for three years.
“This was just two good attacking teams playing soccer the way it should be,” Beattie said. “I told Dave as we were shaking hands after it wasn’t boring but it was a draw.”