by Becky Kimbrell-Norris
WAKEFIELD — Battling a relentless defense, Wakefield High School was unable to defeat Millbrook in men’s soccer on Monday and instead tied the Wildcats 2-2.
The two teams played on the Wolverines field in a Cap 8 Conference game that would see stellar defense, excellent goalkeeping and two overtimes.
It even appeared that Wakefield, 7-9 overall and 5-5 in the conference, would win the game in regulation.
After falling behind 1-0, the Wolverines’ Santiago Zapita scored two goals within six minutes late in the second half; the last one reaching inside the net with 2:10 left in the game.
Wakefield had the ball once again in front of Millbrook’s goal and with 1:25 remaining in the game, there was spectacular leaping after a shot rolled past the Wildcats keeper and at first seemed to be another score until it became apparent that there was no goal because the Wolverines were flagged for being offsides.
Millbrook, 9-5, 6-4, meanwhile broke loose and fired the ball into the net with about six seconds left in the game, forcing overtime.
“Last night was a tough one to swallow with the way it ended,” said Wakefield soccer coach C J Komons. “I definitely thought we had it after we scored; however, we had a mental lapse at the end of the second half.”
The game got off to a slow start as the two opponents felt each other out.
The first ten minutes passed without much action. The next few minutes, though, the offensive outbursts intensified with both teams trading shots.
Millbrook had two back to back opportunities at the 16:38 mark in the first half but one ball sailed over the crossbar and the other went straight into the hands of
Wolverine keeper Yasine Mirmozaffar, who had five saves during the match.
From there the physicality in midfield battling for possession and defense took over and proved impenetrable. It was precisely the game both teams expected.
“We created several chances but just could not put it away,” Komons said. “It doesn’t help when Millbrook cleared a couple off of the endline.”
The Wolverines tried heading the ball in on a corner kick at the 4:00 mark but was unsuccessful. A shot by the Wildcats right before the break went over the bar.
The game would go into halftime with both squads scoreless.
The second 40-minute period began much the way the first one ended.
Millbrook immediately tried two shots but were unsuccessful.
Zapita took a pass and saw a chance but his shot landed just on the outside of the goal post.
Wakefield seemed more dominant in the second half and spent a lot of time in front of Millbrook’s net but they were still unable to score.
“I thought we played very well,” Komons said. “The boys played tough and showed a lot of heart, so I was pleased with their effort.”
Midway through the second half, the Wildcats opened the scoring to go up 1-0.
About three minutes later, Millbrook almost scored again, however; the ball was headed back out by Wakefield.
Zapita’s first goal came at the 8:04 mark when he passed through Millbrook defenders unassisted.
His second score was with 2:43 left in regulation when he booted the ball into the left side of the net. Zapita accounted for four of the Wolverine’s 15 shots during the match.
In the extra periods, neither team could muster any cohesive offensive activity as the intensity level was high on both sides and no one gave in on defense.
The overtime was almost a repeat of the first scoreless half with ball possessions going from one team to the next in mid-field.
“We fought our way back into the game,” Komons said. “The boys played tough and showed a lot of heart.”
“We played hard and played well,”Komons added, “but in the end, didn’t do enough to win. Plus it was a conference game so it was expected to be tough.”
Wakefield will play at Heritage Monday, October 14 at 6:30 pm.
The Wolverines lost to the Huskies 3-1 in the first meeting last month.
“I hope to see the boys continue to rise to the challenge every game,” Komons said. “We want to continue to play hard and leave it all on the field and get the results when we deserve them.”
“And I hope to finish the year on a strong note,” Komons added.