ONA - Coaches of both Hurricane and Cabell Midland's boys soccer teams had different emotional reactions to Thursday's 1-1 tie that concluded the Mountain State Athletic Conference game between the two schools at The Castle.
What was the difference? Perspective. Cabell Midland head coach Brian McNeel couldn't hide the smile after earning a tie with a team that's been dominant in Class AAA, Region IV, Section 2 in recent years. For Hurricane first-year head coach Cody Freas the tie halted his team's seven-game winning streak to start the year.
"I'm ecstatic. I really wish we came out with the win. Truthfully, I really think our guys did come out with the win because if I look back at the film we controlled the ball a lot more. We didn't get our luck in the final third but we had them running everywhere," said McNeel.
The two squads were evenly matched and battled through a scoreless tie at halftime. Hurricane broke the stalemate first with a goal from Jake Bock whose header of a ball from Drake Lester in the 52nd minute made it 1-0.
It was a rare breakdown in the Cabell Midland defense which swamped Hurricane and gave the Knights a 10-8 shot advantage.
For Hurricane though, goal keeper Nick Eskins kept a shutout preserved until 53 seconds to play.
That's when Omar Baryun took the ball and drew contact from a Hurricane defender in the goal box earning a penalty kick that he would get past a diving Eskins to tie the game.
"It was a corner, (a Hurricane player) kicked it far, I took a touch on the ball. I was trying to beat the player and I got some contact on me. It was just a PK. I buried it," Baryun, a senior co-captain, said. "Strategy? Honestly, pick a side and go. Just put it low and hard and hope for the best. It was just a guessing game, really."
Hurricane had to respond with a defensive stand of its own to prevent the Knights from winning the match going away. McNeel's team attacked the Hurricane goal for a last shot but could not find the net to earn a win.
Freas couldn't hide his disappointment with the outcome.
"Our team has had a great start to the season," said Freas, whose Redskins improved to 7-0-1 overall, 4-0-1 in the MSAC. "I think we're a little disappointed which says a lot about this group. They don't even like chewing on a tie. It's the first little bit of adversity we've had this season and how we respond to it will say more about the guys than how we handle a win."
The tie isn't the first for Cabell Midland which found a little bit of good luck with the penalty kick after it had an own-goal that allowed George Washington to escape The Castle with a 3-2 win the Knights' last time out Sept. 5. The Knights now sit at 3-2-2 on the season overall, 2-1-2 in the MSAC after a tie with South Charleston Aug. 27.
Cabell Midland will be back in action Saturday when it hosts Ashland in a game that was rescheduled from last week. Hurricane will travel to George Washington for a match Tuesday that will conclude a stretch of seven consecutive road trips for the Redskins.
HURRICANE 0 1 -- 1
CABELL MIDLAND 0 1 -- 1
H - Bock (Lester), 52:07.
CM - Baryun PK. 79:07.
Shots: H 8, CM 10. Saves: H Eskins 5, CM Grobe 5. Corner kicks: H 3, CM 3.