As is the case in most big city soccer rivalries, there are players on each team who have played on club teams with their opponents, many since they were in elementary school. It could be argued that the players from Lafayette and Henry Clay know each other too well.
It seemed that way as neither could get the edge and the two teams had to settle for a 0-0 tie at Henry Clay on Tuesday night. With the seconds clicking down before post-season play starts, neither coach could complain too much.
"I'd definitely prefer a win, but I can't fault the effort," said Chris Grimm, coach of No. 18 Lafayette. "Everyone I played played really, really hard tonight. I was happy to see that."
Henry Clay has won nine of its last 12 games. The Devils and their speedy forwards outshot the Generals (just barely) 4-3. Neither defense allowed a shot that was very threatening.
"Both teams played hard," Coach Tim Bernardi said. "We obviously would have liked to get a win, but I was pleased with the result."
Both coaches were happy to get another shutout, the ninth this season for Lafayette and the eighth for Henry Clay.
"We're not the fastest defense around," Grimm said. "We use our intelligence, our support off the ball and defend as a team. ... It was a total team effort to keep them off the scoresheet."
The Generals, playing without star midfielder Max Robinson, who was battling an illness, have been one of the state's surprise teams.
They have doubled their win total from the season before and had several big upsets so far. With the effort his team showed, Grimm said, they can be there at the end.
"The biggest thing I get from tonight is seeing how hard my team worked," he said. "We need to keep doing that."
At the start of the season, Bernardi said, he wasn't quite sure what kind of team he had, but he felt good about its potential, and he was right.
The Devils are tied with Woodford County for fewest goals allowed in their region with 14.
"We have the capability to be a great team," he said. "This year, it's been fun to watch them grow as a group."
Henry Clay 0, Lafayette 0
Goalkeepers—HC: Ryan Smalls; L: Curtis Daniel.
Records—Henry Clay 9-5-1, Lafayette 8-4-5.