Catholic, Henry Clay boys fight to scoreless draw in soccer

mmaloney@herald-leader.comSeptember 25, 2012 

Good scoring chances.

Better defensive counters.

And a golden-haired streaker.

A matchup of ranked boys' soccer teams had everything, it seemed, except goals.

No. 21 Lexington Catholic played visiting and eighth-ranked Henry Clay to a scoreless tie Tuesday night.

The streaker, a 4-year-old lass named Mazy, has four legs.

The golden retriever broke free from her handler and took a quick sprint up and down the pitch midway through the first half.

Fortunately, the canine follies came during a stoppage in play and merely provided comic relief in the midst of an intense match.

"We were organized defensively. We stayed in behind the ball and team defense was our key tonight," Catholic Coach Jonathan Kincheloe said. "We didn't give up any soft goals, and we've lately been giving up goals on set pieces. We were organized defensively.

"We left some chances out there. They're a very good team and they were looking to counter us tonight. But we were able to sustain their counters. Just one or two chances left on the table there."

The Knights (7-4-4) are unbeaten in their last five matches, including two ties.

"We played better than in our recent games. We were all on the same wave-length," Catholic forward Ini Okpokho said. "We came out hard. We didn't get the result that we wanted, but it wasn't a loss, and we're just going to try to keep move forward and do whatever we need to do to keep it relevant."

Henry Clay (9-3-3) had won two in a row coming in, both by shutout.

"I think it was a pretty fair match. Both teams worked hard for the ball," Blue Devils Coach Tim Bernardi said. "I thought they outplayed us for the first 15, 20 minutes of the first half. They really took it to us. Then we kind of settled down and then I thought it became an even match. Both had a couple dangerous chances.

"But I thought we did play hard and possessed the ball well tonight. Everyone's looking forward to the next round — post-season's coming up in a week."

David Vasquez, starting in place of John Paul Jikang, finished with seven saves for Henry Clay.

Jikang "wasn't ready to go," Bernardi said. The Devils also played minus their top scoring threat, Thomas Ueland, who is done for the season because of a broken foot.

Catholic goalkeeper Danny Veach had four saves.

"They have a solid defense and their goalie, he's really good. Both teams played really good tonight," Henry Clay's Addison Manley said. "We moved the ball really well tonight. We just couldn't finish one tonight."

Manley nearly finished one with 61/2 minutes left in the first half, but Veach snared the shot with two hands.

Henry Clay's Zach Campbell also had a good look, only to have Veach make a graceful leap and two-handed grab.

Catholic's best chance in the first half came on Jackson Rowady's 46-yard free kick, targeted for the top right corner of the net. Vasquez timed his jump perfectly to make the grab.

So both teams extended unbeaten streaks.

And had a streaker to add some laughs.

Henry Clay 0, Lexington Catholic 0

Goalkeepers—HC: David Vasquez; LC: Danny Veach. Records—HC: 9-3-3; LC: 7-4-4.

Mark Maloney: (859) 231-3229. Twitter: @markmaloneyhl. Blog: markmaloney.bloginky.com

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