A tie usually indicates a mix of emotions from players and coaches on both teams. That wasn’t the case Tuesday, however, as one side was clearly happier with the result than the other.
Oak Forest and Mother McAuley played to a 2-2 tie in girls soccer, but the host Bengals felt like the victors given the way McAuley has dominated this matchup in the past.
“(I’m) mostly very happy about the way we played. This is the best we’ve played them,” Oak Forest coach Stacey Lane said. “We usually get beat by at least four goals, so this in my mind was a win.”
After playing a scoreless first half and a scoreless opening 15 minutes in the second half, the Bengals (8-9-1) and the Mighty Macs (8-5-3) scored four goals in a span of six minutes.
With 28:36 to play in the second half, Oak Forest struck first with a free kick from junior midfielder Jaclyn Hoffmeister that had shades of a David Beckham free kick. With the ball stationed to the left of the goal well beyond the box, Hoffmeister arced the ball over the hands of Mother McAuley goalkeeper Stephanie Burt and into the top right corner of the goal.
“It was quite an opportunity for me,” Hoffmeister said. “Abby Caprio got the free kick for us and I heard coach saying, ‘Look for (Nicole) Price,’ and I said I could just shoot it. She said, ‘If you have the opportunity, just take it.’ I hit it with all my might and I got it.”
Oak Forest responded with another goal 30 seconds later. Junior midfielder Katie Swanson scored on an assist from forward Abby Caprio.
“I told them that with hard work and more communication and taking advantage of opportunities, we would get the ball in the net, and we did,” Lane said.
McAuley responded by scoring two goals of its own in a span of five minutes. With 27:43 to play, junior midfielder Megan Mccauley fired the ball into the top right of the net to bring the Mighty Macs to within 2-1. With 22:50 to play, junior forward Alyssa Casanova tied the game at 2-all with a shot to the left-hand side of the goal.
Mother McAuley coach Evan Strehlau was disappointed in his team’s effort.
“They scored two goals first and then we decided to play,” Strehlau said. “I mean, there’s really not much to say. We just didn’t come to play today.”
McAuley next plays at Tinley Park on Friday, and Strehlau hopes his team can learn from the tie.
“It’s kind of good to have a game like this, get it out, so we don’t have to worry about it come playoffs,” Strehlau said.
McAuley had been on a roll entering Tuesday’s game, having lost just once with two ties in its last eight games.
“We have to work through it as a team and do the best we can,” Casanova said.
Tuesday marked Oak Forest’s last home game, as the team has finished conference play with a 7-4 mark, good for second place in the South Suburban Blue. The Bengals will play Tuesday against Bremen in the Lemont Regional.
Lane said her team is playing well heading into the postseason.
“We’re finishing our season continually playing better and better,” she said.