Coaches draw encouragement from tie

The last four times Tates Creek and Paul Dunbar have played, the games have ended with one team or the other winning 1-0.

In the regular-season finale for both teams on Thursday night, neither team could even manage to score that one goal.

Instead, they ended in a 0-0 tie at Paul Dunbar on the 20th-ranked Bulldogs' senior night.

In some ways, that score felt like a winning one to Tates Creek Coach Bo Lankster, considering Dunbar had outscored its last six in-state opponents 30-0.

The Bulldogs also went 2-1 in a national tournament in St. Louis last weekend.

"For us to go 0-0 with them, that means our defense is where it needs to be, or it's coming around to where it needs to be at this time of the year," Lankster said.

"It seems like we've given up some fluky goals this season, but tonight we stayed focused for a full 80 minutes. ... I'm definitely pleased with our defensive effort."

Coach Todd Bretz was impressed with the Commodores' defensive effort, too.

"They played very, very good defense," he said. "They worked very hard to take away many of our options. ... They shut down space pretty quickly."

Early in the second half, it looked as if Dunbar was going to find a way to get that one goal, getting back-to-back on-spot shots from Luis Delgado and Andrew Lock, but they were both deflected by keeper Lee Kimbrell.

"Balls that come from distance don't bother him at all and that's where most of their danger is coming from," Lankster said. "We expect Lee to get back there and read the game and make the saves he can make."

Three minutes later, it was Creek's Zack Whaley with the one-on-one opportunity with Joe Osborn, but the Dunbar keeper managed to nab the ball before it went into the goal.

"We had two one v. ones with the keeper and you can't ask for anything better than that in a game like this," Lankster said.

Both senior keepers ended the game a little bruised and beaten up but held up their shutouts.

Kimbrell had seven saves for the Commodores, who won four of their last five games coming into Thursday night's.

Osborn had five saves and helped the Bulldogs earn their eighth shutout of the season, and their seventh straight against in-state foes. Dunbar has allowed a region-low 15 goals this season.

"We didn't give up any goals, which is a positive for us. We've just got to find ways to manage to get goals in tight games,Bretz said. "We've got to be a little bit more creative against a very good defensive team.e_SDRq

Paul Dunbar 0, Tates Creek 0

Goalkeepers—TC: Lee Kimbrell; PLD: Joe Osborn.

Records—Tates Creek 9-6-4, Paul Dunbar 9-4-2.