The Eisenhower boys soccer team opened its 2013 season on Wednesday with a heartbreaking 1-0 double overtime defeat at the hands of Corry at Eisenhower High School.
After 96 scoreless minutes, the Beavers were finally able to slide a ball past Knights goalie Casey Vincent.
The game also served as the head coaching debut for Matt Decker, who took over the Knights after his father, Mike, stepped down in March after 14 years.
Times Observer photo by Jonathan McAfoos
Change of direction
Eisenhower’s Erik Daugharthy shields a Corry play while attempting to turn around during the Knights’ season-opening 1-0 loss to the Beavers on Wednesday.
"I was a little nervous," Decker said of his first game. "It was good to get it out of the way."
Decker had plenty to be happy with, despite the loss, as his team improved greatly as the game went on.
The Beavers controlled the ball throughout the majority of the first half, but the Knights defense kept them at bay. Corry's only major scoring chance came with just under eight minutes left, when a Beaver shot just wide of goal on a breakaway.
Eisenhower looked like a different team in the second half, nearly scoring a goal just four minutes in after a free kick was awarded. Senior Michael Spencer fired a low, curling shot from just outside the box that seemed like a sure goal before Corry's goalkeeper pushed it away with an outstretched hand.
Each team had chances in the final ten minutes of regulation. Vincent made several saves for the Knights in the closing minutes, and another shot from Spencer from just inside the box sailed high.
The Knights had another golden opportunity in the first overtime period, as a perfect cross sailed in front of an empty net, but nobody was home to finish. Finally, the Beavers cashed in on an opportunity, finding the net with just four minutes remaining to send the Knights home disappointed.
"They have a strong team," Decker said of the Beavers. "We've got a real young team. (Corry) played yesterday (in a 1-0 lost to North East), so I knew they'd be tired. Our guys fought hard. Over time we moved the ball better. It's hard to go 96 minutes in the first game."
Decker also praised the work of his defense and central midfield.
"We had great play out of the back," Decker said, mentioning the strong play of Levi Kelly. "Our center-mids were strong also, including Erik Daugharthy, Ricky Zortman and Michael Spencer."
The Knights (0-1) now have nearly a week off before their next game. They'll travel to Titusville on Tuesday.