YORK – The score was tied at 1-1 between the Hastings Tigers and the York Dukes with 16:55 to play in the first half.
Then the roof caved in, the wheels fell off the bus and just about everything else that could go wrong in a half minute did for the York boys' soccer team.
The Hastings Tigers scored with 16:54 to play, then added a penalty kick and another goal at the 16:24 mark to lead 4-1 and they went on to an 8-1 win over the Dukes at the Cornerstone Sports Complex.
“That mentally took us out of the game,” commented York head coach Chris Luther. “The intentional hand ball in the box is an automatic red card, so we played the final 60 minutes a man down and against a team like Hastings they were able to wear us down and score a lot of goals. It was just the morale and the mental focus and you have that playing in the back of your mind and it’s tough.”
Hastings led on a goal by Garret VanBrocklin at the 35:32 mark, but less than four minutes later, York’s Alex Reyes and Jonah Otte teamed up with Reyes connecting to tie the game at 1-1 with 31:48 to play in the first half.
In the second half, down three goals and a man, the Dukes gave up four more scores and could not mount anything against the Hastings team that improved to 4-2, while the York boys fell to 1-3.
Despite giving up eight goals, Luther credited York keeper Grant Suddarth for making a lot of progress in the game. “Grant had a huge game for us tonight. He was under a lot of pressure from them all night long and I thought he played well,” said Luther.
“Grant has been working with some of the goalies at the college and tonight he was much more aggressive coming out for the ball and going after the ball. We are a young team and hopefully we are learning.”
York ended the game with 11 shots on goal as compared to 27 for the Tigers. Suddarth recorded 18 saves in the game.
The Dukes (1-3) still have a long week ahead as they travel to Columbus Lakeview on Thursday night and then are back home on Friday to host Columbus Scotus in a make-up of the March 21 game.
“The last two games have been rough games,” said Luther. “We are still trying to figure things out and trying to find the best combinations. Hopefully as the year goes we will get better.”