Pacelli and Amherst tie in a shootout at PCYSC
By Jacob Heid
STEVENS POINT — If you couldn’t make it to the Portage County Youth Soccer Complex on Sept 8, you missed one crazy soccer game. Pacelli played host to Amherst in a conference clash, which had a CWC Game of the Year feeling. The Cardinals and Falcons traded blows for all 80 minutes and ended in a 4-4 tie. Pacelli’s Max Grabeic had a hat trick in the tie.
Energy-filled first half
It did not take long for someone to find the back of the net. Junior Spencer Cohen finished a run by beating Pacelli keeper Timothy Sackmann 19 seconds in for an early 1-0 lead. There was no shortage of opportunities on offense for either team.
“I was excited. I was not expecting the team to hit Pacelli as hard as they did,” Issac Winkelman said about taking an early lead. He was filling in for head coach Erik Linde at the game.
Grabeic had his first opportunity to score four minutes into the match. But, his shot sailed over the crossbar. Minutes later, he had another great look, but Amherst’s Alex Martin had an even better save.
“I wish Pacelli didn’t have as many opportunities, but you know, that is part of soccer,” Winkelman explained. “You can’t always dictate the game.”
A few minutes later, Amherst took a 2-0 lead off a corner kick. Senior Drew Lewallen gathered himself and found the net. At this point, it looked like the Falcons were ready to blow open the game. That’s if Grabiec did not have any say in it. Well, he did. The speedy junior took it half the field’s length and made it a 2-1 game with 18 minutes left in the first half. Seconds later, he buried his second goal, which tied the game at 2-2.
“His performance was insane again,” head coach Dayton Zander said about Grabeic’s game. I’m proud of the way he capitalized on everything. It is good to see out of him, definitely one of the leaders on this team even though he is not a captain.”
Amherst broke the tie late, giving the Falcons a 3-2 lead after 40 minutes of play.
Second half battle
The Falcons booted one behind the Pacelli defense in the 47th minute, and Carlos Lopez did the rest. He split the defense, and the initial shot got saved. Lopez buried the rebound to make it a 4-2 game.
A physical game continued as Pacelli was awarded a penalty kick in the 54th minute. Grabeic capitalized and had his third goal of the game for the Cardinals. Pacelli kept applying pressure with their quick forwards, still down by one score. Sophomore Braeden Flaker also had his opportunity to shine. Flaker smacked one point blank into the net off of a Grabeic assist. The game was tied at 4-4.
“I’m super proud of their resiliency. We’ve had a rough schedule, a lot of games back-to-back,” Zander explained. “It’s a tough schedule for these kids, but they’re definitely hanging in there. I’m proud to see their fight tonight.”
The game still had 20 minutes left, and both teams scraped and clawed to the finish. A shootout finished in a well-deserved 4-4 tie. Both teams left everything on the field. If you have any story ideas, contact me at [email protected]. You can also follow me on Twitter at JacobHeid_15 for updates on local sporting events.