No winner in City Cup
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Charleston Catholic's invincibility had been stripped away the last few weeks, but the Fighting Irish restored some of that bravado Tuesday night.
Class AA-A No. 2 Catholic did what few teams have accomplished this season, scoring a goal on Class AAA No. 1 and unbeaten George Washington in settling for a 1-1 tie in the inaugural City Cup. A crowd of about 300, including a raucous student section for each school, attended the rivalry matchup at Schoenbaum Soccer Stadium in Coonskin Park.
Sophomore Joey Trupo gave the four-time defending state champion Irish a 1-0 lead in the 54th minute off a diving header. Trupo was pushed from behind and Catholic was awarded a direct kick just outside of the upper left corner of the penalty-box area. Irish sophomore Lucas Gocke took the kick and sent the ball into the box, and Trupo was able to get his head on it for the tally.
It looked as if Catholic (9-3-3) might hold on, but GW sophomore Patrick Davis sent an unassisted rocket from the left side that deposited into the upper right corner of the net to knot the game at 1-all in the 69th minute.
Neither side mounted much of an attack the rest of the way as the newly minted trophy that goes to the yearly winner in the series went unclaimed. GW senior keeper Garrett Phillips stopped one shot while Catholic junior goalie Patrick Kline turned in five saves.
"I think it's restored our confidence,'' said Catholic first-year coach Domenic Cipollone of Tuesday's effort.
It's been a bumpy ride this season for the Irish, who saw their 64-match unbeaten streak end a few weeks ago. Catholic entered Tuesday's clash with three losses in its last five games, including back-to-back defeats, which hasn't occurred since 2008.
"Mentally we've had a couple of breakdowns during the year,'' Cipollone said. "We're lacking a little confidence, but we stepped it up. I think [our players] finally got the right mental attitude, calm and play their hardest.''
GW (16-0-1) only allowed its third goal of the year, but Tuesday's draw had the air of a loss as the Patriot players quietly and slowly exited the field.
"Anytime you're down a goal you see what you're made of,'' said GW veteran coach Tom Hopper. "I thought we played well the last 20 minutes.
"We fouled too much. Catholic cashed in on a set piece. It was kind of a gut check. We're not walking away with a loss. It could have been worse. It should be a wake-up call.''
GW, ranked 19th by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, will get another test when it takes on No. 4 Parkersburg at noon Saturday in the Mountain State Athletic Conference championship at Schoenbaum.
"I think [our players] know they just can't show up and expect good things to happen,'' Hopper said. "We know we'll have more tough games. Every time we go out somebody's shooting for us.''
Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-4811.