Playing for one goal never seemed so difficult.
Juan Diego and Judge Memorial's boys' soccer teams engaged in another classic battle Friday evening at McCarthey Stadium. However, the outcome wasn't what most expected the first-ever tie between the teams. In fact, the game marked the first time both teams were held scoreless in the series.
Chants of "Let's play more!" went unfulfilled after the game.
"Not at all, 100 minutes is a lot of playing time," Judge's Luc Steffen said. "Last year we took a beating from those guys. It would have been nice to win, but it's sweet to take one step at a time and get better and better at beating those guys. It's really fun but nerve-wracking at the same time."
Although neither team prevailed, the Bulldogs took more solace in the outcome. It was the first time Judge Memorial (3-4-1) earned a point in the region standings against Juan Diego (4-2-1) and snapped a five-game losing streak to the Soaring Eagle that stretched over three seasons.
The fact that the Bulldogs came close to winning seemed good enough.
"Like I told the boys, we got a result. We got a point," Judge coach Kelly Terrill said. "It's better than losing, but you're never satisfied if you're in front of the net and don't score. Juan Diego's keeper did a good job of saving shots, and our keeper did, too. Both teams had chances, but couldn't score."
Juan Diego's Ruben Rico and Judge's Andrew Matthews each did his best to preserve the shutout. Both keepers dived, leapt and slid to save every shot imaginable. Their respective defense also did its part to keep the game tight.
While each team had good looks on goal, the opportunities often appeared to self-destruct before they materialized.
"Teams that score have great chemistry and I'm not sure we have that yet," Juan Diego coach Scott Platz said. "We've got a lot of talent but haven't quite jelled yet. We had a lack of discipline and composure around the goal. At times we made poor decisions when we got deep and thought about things too much."
Ameda Tarr and Jose Ruples each had scoring chances for the Bulldogs, while Will Bagrou and Andrew Montoya highlighted the Soaring Eagle attack. Despite the tie, both coaches were complimentary about the effort.
"From our last game, we didn't quit and fought the entire time," Terrill said. "It wasn't pretty sometimes, but we fought. We challenged on 50-50 balls; Juan Diego didn't win them all. We just couldn't score."
"It certainly wasn't for lack of energy or effort on both sides," Platz said. "We've done this a few times we've got to figure out a way to score some goals."
The Soaring Eagle defeated the Bulldogs 1-0 earlier this season after sweeping them by a combined score of 6-2 last year.