By Matthew Snyder
The visiting Sacred Heart Cathedral boys soccer team overcame a red card, an injury and a steady stream of St. Ignatius offensive pressure to emerge with a 0-0 draw in West Catholic Athletic League Play on Thursday.
After two quality scoring chances for the Irish (5-2-2, 1-1-1) to open the game — the second a snapshot from freshman forward Spencer Johnson on the edge of the penalty area that forced St. Ignatius goalkeeper Carl Otto to get down quickly to save the ball to his right — St. Ignatius (4-2-2, 0-1-2) assumed control of possession and largely didn’t relinquish it.
The Wildcats had two goals called back in the second half — one for and offside and the other for an obstruction on Irish goalkeeper Connor Anderson, who denied the Wildcats with a string of excellent saves and savvy positioning.
“We know that [Sacred Heart] is the biggest rivalry around,” said St. Ignatius senior defender Chris Anderson. “We had a lot of positives going into this game and we left with a lot of positives, but we still have some things to work on – mainly just putting the ball in the back of the net.”
St. Ignatius failed to take advantage of numerous free kicks in dangerous areas around the Irish penalty area, but almost conceded a goal in the 31st minute.
Otto misjudged a long throw in from the right wing, which allowed the ball to skip past him toward the net, but the Wildcats defense cleared the danger.
As the game opened up in the final minutes, thanks to Sacred Heart Cathedral’s attrition after a red card in the 72nd minute, St. Ignatius surged forward on the attack. Afforded more room to roam, St. Ignatius senior forward Cullen Vincelette took full advantage.
“We started finding each other in good spaces down the lines, and we started whipping balls in, but unfortunately we couldn’t get anything on and couldn’t get a goal,” Vincelette said.
Vincelette, who moved from forward to left wing during the second half, had one golden scoring opportunity in each half. Slaloming through the Sacred Heart defense with dribbling runs, Vincelette just waited too long to pull the trigger on a shot.
“We created, but we just didn’t finish,” said St. Ignatius head coach John Prior. “One goal . . . [and] maybe we go on to score two or three, but we gotta score first.”