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 a bruising West Catholic Athletic League game on Thursday at J.B. Murphy field.
Fightin’ Irish coach Jeff Wilson felt the draw was an indication of the team’s growth this season.
“We’re up against a tough opponent, in a tough situation and I’ll take any points,” Wilson said. “That’s something we’re approaching differently this year. It’s accumulation of points ... that’s it.”
After two good scoring chances for the Irish to open the game — the second a spontaneous snap-shot from freshman forward Spencer Johnson on the edge of the penalty area that forced Wildcats goalkeeper Carl Otto to get down quickly to save the ball to his right — St. Ignatius assumed control of possession and didn’t relinquish it.
St. Ignatius senior defender Chris Anderson said the Wildcats entered the game very well prepared.
“We know that SH is the biggest rivalry around,” Anderson said. “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.”
The Wildcats had two goals called back in the second half — one for offsides, the other for obstruction on Irish goalkeeper Connor Anderson, who denied the Wildcats with a string of excellent saves and savvy positioning.
St. Ignatius (4-2-2) failed to take advantage of numerous free kicks in dangerous areas around the Irish (5-2-2) penalty area, and 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.
Irish left-back Jack Bragagnolo was issued a red card in the 72nd minute after engaging in a tackle on St. Ignatius forward Cullen Vincelette.
As the game opened up in the final minutes, thanks to Sacred Heart Cathedral’s attrition, St. Ignatius surged forward on the attack. Afforded more room to roam, 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.