Call it a learning experience.
Despite playing the final 29:14 two men short, Male outlasted Paul Dunbar in a shootout, 2-1, after Central Hardin topped Tates Creek 4-1.
Both season-opening matches at Lafayette were part of the Fayette County iHigh Soccer Frenzy.
No. 10 Male 2, No. 5 Dunbar 1 (SO): "We played like it was our first game," Dunbar Coach Todd Bretz said. "We made a lot of mistakes. We played very nervous, very tentative. Male is a very good team, and they capitalized."
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Leading 1-0, Male lost Josh Eckert to a red card with just under 33 minutes left when he protested a foul call.
With 29:19 left, Andy Romero was sent off for a hard foul.
Just 38 seconds after Romero left, Kerek Plummer tied the match, cleaning up a loose ball about 10 yards off the goal line and knocking it inside the left post.
Dunbar's Nathan Jones was denied when Male goalkeeper Lee Lewis charged out and swept the ball off Jones' foot.
With seven minutes left, Male's Larry Gowdy banged a shot from 18 yards out. Creek keeper Jon Hurley deflected the ball just enough to bounce off the far post.
In the shootout (there was no overtime), Amar Sejdic, Campbell Morris, Stephen Merrick, Bryan Romero and Trey Rey all scored for Male.
Lewis stopped Dunbar's second shooter, Nick DiMeo. "He pretty much saved the game for us," Chris Barron, coach of the Louisville Bulldogs, said of Lewis. "Especially with that last breakaway save (against Jones)."
Lexington's Bulldogs got shootout tallies from Austin Miller, Riley Calhoon, Cesar Delgado and Jones.
Sejdic, a freshman midfielder, tallied 7½ minutes into the match, lofting a shot from 25 yards out from the left wing.
"I'm very proud of them," Barron said. "(Dunbar) held possession for the last 27 minutes. With two men down, that's pretty good."
Dunbar has plenty of games left to come together. "We didn't take advantage of the numbers-up situation," Bretz said. "But a lot of that is inexperience — we didn't realize how to do it."
No. 18 Central Hardin 4, Tates Creek 1: Noah Wiersma bagged two goals to lead the Bruins.
"I didn't know what to expect, and I'm sure Tates Creek didn't know what to expect — we both have a lot of new players," said Mike Wiersma, Central Hardin coach and Noah's father. "So I was pleased with how we moved the ball and created some chances."
Goals by Wiersma 2:15 into the match and Austin Howard 18:20 in helped the Bruins to a 2-1 halftime lead.
Creek scored on its only shot of the half. Jaime Gullo took a chip pass near the penalty mark, turned and found the left side of the goal.
The Commodores added four shots in the second half.
"I thought we found our pace a little bit," Coach Brandon Turek said. "But I just didn't believe they wanted to be out there tonight. It's going to be a growing season. They've got a lot to learn."
Central's second-half scores came from Bubba Sankey with 21:08 left and Wiersma with 8:44 on the clock.
Fayette County iHigh Soccer Soccer Frenzy
Central Hardin 4, Tates Creek 1
Goals — CH: Noah Wiersma 2, Austin Howard, Bubba Sankey; TC: Jaime Gullo. Goalkeepers — CH: Kyle Weiner; TC: Evan Adams, Richard Ellis. Records — Central Hardin 1-0; Tates Creek 0-1.
Male 2, Paul Laurnce Dunbar 1 (shootout)
Goals — M: Amar Sejdic; PLD: Kerek Plummer. Goalkeepers — M: Lee Lewis; PLD: Jon Hurley. Records — Male 1-0; Dunbar 0-1.