By Bonta Hill
In a tale of two halves, the University High School and Lick-Wilmerding fought to a 1-1 draw on Wednesday at Boxer Stadium, but both teams failed on golden opportunities late in the second half to come away with the Bay Counties League West victory.
Lick goalkeeper Yonah Levy made several crucial saves in the last ten minutes of the game to prevent the Red Devils (4-7-3, 2-0-1) from stealing the victory.
“After they scored to tie it, I told myself, ‘I’m not going to let another one go in,'” Levy said. “I was not going to lose to this team, so I put everything into preventing them from scoring.”
In a frantic finish, which saw University ramp up the pressure on Levy and the Tigers (6-3-1, 2-2-1) defense, forward Jack WIlson almost sent the Red Devils home in jubilation.
In the last minute of the game, Wilson’s shot from the left side of the box went wide right by inches.
“Because of our momentum everyone was pushed forward and we were a bit on our heels, but we prevented them scoring,” said a grinning Levy.
With the fog rolling into Boxer Stadium, signifying an end to the heat wave the City endured the last few days, the second half turned into an action-packed match after a lackluster first half, in which both teams struggled for possession of the ball.
As the Tigers set up for a free kick 25-yards out, Lick’s Drew Forrest would break the scoring drought in the 48th minute with a header past University goalkeeper John Schember into the upper right corner of the net.
Schember initially made a great save off of Dimitri Barton’s shot from the left post, but Forrest was in perfect position to chip in the header on the rebound.
“In practice we’ve been practicing a couple of different formations,” Forrest said. “Me and Dimitri were lined up staggered and I got a touch on it and got by right by [Schember].”
The Tigers’ goal woke up the Red Devils, as they answered nine minutes later with a goal by Michael Lauricella, which came off a Levy save.
“It’s been a theme for us this season. [When] a team scores, we kind of go, ‘Uh-oh, time to kick it in overdrive,'” Lauricella said. “We pushed hard, but Yonah made some good saves. We wanted to get the win, especially against our rivals.”
The coaches for each team admitted that the game had two different faces and both saw things they liked and disliked, as both of their squads are looking to become more consistent as the season grows older.
“The first half was a little more slow. We allowed them to have a little more possession than us,” said Lick head coach Matt Kurnick. “The game got a little loose in those last 15-20 minutes and there were some good opportunities for both teams.”
University head coach Deejae Johnson offered similar sentiments about his squad, but still felt his team didn’t play great against its BCL West rival.
“We had a hard time getting going in the first half for sure. Quite frankly, we couldn’t wait until halftime,” Johnson said. “Either team could have won the game and these are the games you want to come away with a win.”
Still both teams will attempt to make improvements, looking to challenge Stuart Hall and Marin Academy for the BCL West title.
“We still have plenty of work to do, but this is a stepping stone in the right direction,” Kurnick said. “University always has an organized team and play good ball, but we have some good things to take out of this game.”
LW: 48th minute — Drew Forrest
U: 57th minute — Michael Lauricella