If the old saying holds true and defense does indeed win championships, then Paul Dunbar and Lexington Catholic are well on their way to a boys' state soccer title.
The city's top-10 powers played to a 0-0 tie Tuesday night in front of a big crowd at Dunbar.
Both teams had scoring opportunities, but neither team could capitalize or get many balls on frame.
"It was a typical cagey affair between the two of us," Catholic Coach Greg Hilvers said. "That's just how it is when we play."
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It seemed almost appropriate that the two district rivals ended in a scoreless tie.
Since the KHSAA realigned the soccer in 2004, the Knights and Bulldogs have played 12 times, with Catholic winning six and Dunbar winning five. In that span, neither team has ever won by more than a goal.
Tuesday's tie just showed how evenly matched the programs are.
"Both teams defensively worked very hard," said Todd Bretz, coach of No. 10 Dunbar. "(Catholic) had a little better play in the midfield, which created more chances for them. They had a lot of clean looks that they could have put on frame, but we were fortunate they didn't."
It was the third shutout of the season for the Bulldogs, who were forced to start sophomore goalkeeper Jon Hurley. Their starting goalie was injured.
It was also the third shutout of the season for the fourth-ranked Knights, who have struggled to score goals at times. They have managed just five in five games so far this season.
"We had a lot of dangerous opportunities," Hilvers said. "That does say a lot. For us, we're still trying to find ourselves. We're coming along nicely, but we've had some personnel changes."
He credited Dunbar's defense with keeping Catholic out of the net, too.
"We thought we could get in and unlock them, and they wouldn't let us," said Hilvers, whose team's best shot came on a header late in the first half. Hurley was there to stop it.
"We were lacking that bite again tonight, but we created chances," Hilvers said. "I'm not unhappy with how we played."
Bretz wasn't unhappy with his team's effort either.
The Bulldogs had some seemingly dangerous chances including four corner kicks and a shot that went wide right by mere inches just eight minutes into the game.
"We made a lot of mistakes," Bretz said. "But at least the kids played hard. At this stage, if they're still playing hard and are still hungry to learn, then we'll continue to develop."
At Paul Laurence Dunbar
Lexington Catholic 0, Paul Dunbar 0
Goalkeepers—LC: Matt Wagner; PLD: Jon Hurley.
Records—Lexington Catholic 2-2-1, Paul Dunbar 3-2-3.