Catholic Memorial junior Connor Alba and Arrowhead senior Travis Mueller
collide while going for the ball during Tuesday’s game at Waukesha South.
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff
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WAUKESHA — Who says there aren’t buzzer beaters in soccer?
The high school boys soccer showdown Tuesday between Arrowhead and Catholic Memorial had one — and nearly another.
When it was over, both teams were left contemplating the 1-1 tie in their Classic 8 Conference game at Waukesha South.
Heading to next week’s final conference game, Arrowhead sits at 4-0-2 while Memorial moved to 4-1-1. The Warhawks close the season against Kettle Moraine (5-1) and CMH will lock up with Waukesha West (5-0-1).
Arrowhead and CMH jockeyed for scoring opportunities throughout the first half — without much success. Arrowhead senior goalkeeper Mitch Sutrick and Memorial sophomore keeper Josh Balicki were on hand to keep the game scoreless until the end of the first half.
When the game announcer began his 10 second countdown, Memorial junior Connor Alba gained control and raced toward the goal. As the countdown continued, Alba worked past the Arrowhead back line and prepped for a shot.
Working left, Alba fired a shot back to the right, just past Sutrick with two seconds left. “When I picked up the ball in the middle third, I heard him counting down from nine,” Alba said. “When I heard two, I hit it. That really helped us with momentum going into half.”
“Good players are going to make good plays,” Arrowhead coach Jeff Staus said. “(Alba) got the ball in transition and put on a good finish. It was lazy defending on our part, especially against one of the better players in the conference.”
In the second half, Alba nearly got another goal but his shot hit the post and Sutrick picked up Memorial’s rebound try.
In the 66th minute, Arrowhead senior forward Trevor Skaggs broke free for a one-on-one confrontation with Balicki. But Skaggs’ shot sailed up and over the goal, leaving him shaking his head.
Finally at 76:30, Arrowhead senior Steven Peterson sent a corner kick in front of the goal and sophomore Tyler Gilmore finished with a solid header past Balicki.
“I thought a couple more would come with the amount of pressure we were putting on them during the course of play,” Staus said. “That was a nice finish off a dead ball with a header. When you put pressure on teams, you’re going to get corners, you’re going to get dead balls and that’s what happened.”
“We kind of let it slip,” Alba said. “It stings because it came on a set piece. It’s what we work on in practice. We have to mark up. That’s everyone’s job.”
As the game announcer began the second half’s 10-second countdown, Arrowhead seized possession and worked for one last try. In the final seconds, Skaggs worked free and lofted a high lob that appeared destined for the top of the goal. As Balicki went up, the ball landed just over the cross bar and on top of the net as time ran out.
“It’s a game of inches,” Skaggs said. “Sometimes it falls, sometimes it doesn’t. It’s a matter of gritting your teeth and getting back to playing as a team. It was a real good battle. We would have liked a difference outcome.”
The Memorial side wasn’t shocked with the 1-1 result.
“Ending up with a 1-1 tie doesn’t really surprise me,” said CMH assistant coach Peter Byrne, who was filling in for head coach John Bisswurm. “It was going to be a one goal game one way or another. I don’t think we played our best in the second half. We were on our heels a lot.”