Both teams had some golden chances to break the tie, but the 11th annual Four Diamonds All-Star Soccer game ended in a 1-1 stalemate between Pennsylvania and Maryland on Wednesday night at Kaley Field in Greencastle.
The game, played by teams sponsored by Public Opinion (Pa.) and Screentique (Md.), was a benefit for the Four Diamonds Cancer Fund, and the event raised $715, plus half of the concession profits.
Maryland coach Lynn Mills, of Clear Spring, said, "Neither team could finish a couple of opportunities they had. It seemed like a real even game, but both teams had times when they dominated."
The P.O. had a slight edge in shots (12-9), but both teams put five shots on goal and Maryland led in corner kicks, 7-3.
"It was a well-played game," said Pa. coach Doug Beckner, of Waynesboro. "Both teams had some good spurts. At the beginning of the second half we moved the ball really well and had them pinned in, but couldn't score."
Maryland got on the board first, just 8:26 into the game. St. Maria Goretti's Kevin Proctor took the ball down deep on the left wing and made an excellent move to get past a defender. He dropped a pass back from the end line that went to Yusef Bodirov of North Hagerstown, and his shot hit the left post and deflected past keeper Josh Spoonhour of Greencastle-Antrim.
Spoonhour, who was not able to play in the Blue Devils' final two District 3 playoff games because of mononucleosis,
"It was frustrating to have to sit on the side for those playoff games," he said. "These games are fun, but you have to do a little more organizing with the defense because you don't know their names or their styles and you have to be really vocal."
Spoonhour did contribute three saves in the first half - Maryland put all four of its first-half shots on goal.
Pennsylvania gradually began to turn the tide and earn more possession and
"The guy from Greencastle (Zach Faulkner) got the first header and it almost went in," Crider said, "then Noah (Graham, also of G-A) headed it back to me. I don't know for sure if he saw me or not, but it came right to me. I just tried to make sure I kept it down and it felt good off my foot."
There were close calls in the second half, but neither defense broke.
Clear Spring's Nick Brandt hit a shot just wide of the right post, and Maryland had a shot from close range after a corner kick that was saved by keeper Jacob Sempowski of Chambersburg.
Just after that play, Pa. had a shot saved off a corner by North Hagerstown keeper Max Ober, and Pa.'s Justin Timko (Shippensburg) and Jesse Smith (Waynesboro) had near misses.
Beckner said, "We tried to get the kids equal playing time so we had to rotate around, and that meant we had some kids playing out of position. We had Jesse back on defense for awhile and I knew he could handle that.
"Other than that, we just basically let them play. All we said was just go out and enjoy the game, play the ball to feet and communicate as much as you can. For the most part, they did a good job. There was not much kickball from either team."
Mills said, "For a bunch of kids who haven't played together before, I thought they played really well. Some kids who are normally forwards had to drop back to midfield, but they adjusted very well."
The event was played for the first time at Kaley Field on turf and it was a hit.
The event organizer, Steve Tanner of Waynesboro, said, "I think this might have been the most competitive game we've had yet. Everybody played well and everybody really liked the facility."
Public Opinion leads the series 7-2-2, but Maryland is 2-2-1 in the last five games.
Ed Gotwals can be reached at 262-4755 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Public Opinion (Pa.) 1
Screentique (Md.) 1
Maryland 1 0 - 1
Pennsylvania 1 0 - 1
Maryland scoring: G - Yusef Bodirov (North Hagerstown), 8:26. A - Kevin Proctor (St. Maria Goretti).
Pennsylvania scoring: G - Brandon Crider (Shalom Christian), 33:25. A - Noah Graham (Greencastle-Antrim).
Shots - Md 9; Pa 12. Shots on goal - Md 5; Pa 5. Corner kicks - Md 7; Pa 3. Saves - Md 4 (Levi Bucher, Clear Spring, 2; Max Ober, N.Hagerstown 2); Pa 4 (Josh Spoonhour, Greencastle, 3; Jacob Sempowski, Chambersburg, 1). Fouls - Md 9; Pa 2. Offsides - Md 2.