Twice George Washington had Charleston Catholic on the ropes in their crosstown boys soccer match Thursday night, and twice the Irish battled back - twice more than they have had to do all season.
The 2-2 draw gave Sam Fox, coach of the No. 1 team in Class AA-A, a good feeling heading into the season's home stretch.
"It's the first time we've been down all year," Fox said. "Coming into this game, I was concerned as to how our boys would react and respond if we got down in a game, and they showed me a lot tonight."
Ranked fourth in Class AAA, GW (12-3-2) took a 1-0 halftime lead, scoring in the 10th minute with the most artistic goal of the night, Noah Miller's shot off a Garrett Warner feed. Warner beat a Catholic defender on a run down the left flank, taking a long lead pass along the way.
Catholic (16-0-1), with a 17-10 edge in shots, controlled much of the second-half action and tied it in the 53rd minute on Adam Fox's shot from the middle of the penalty box. Luke Smith had the assist.
That tie lasted for three minutes. As GW attacked, Catholic committed a handball foul on a loose ball at the top of the box, just inside the line. Peter Nelson took the penalty kick, burying it in the top right corner for a 2-1 lead.
Catholic revived its attack, though, and in the 69th minute Sam Revercomb knocked in his own rebound to tie the match at 2.
Both teams fired shots in the final 11 minutes, but Catholic handed GW the best chance in the 79th minute. Miller got loose down the middle and had an open look at Catholic goalkeeper Mitchel Thorsteinson, but Lucas Gocke reached out and hauled Miller down just outside the box.
Gocke received a red card, which sent him off and will cost him a two-game suspension, and GW had about the closest free kick you can have in soccer. The ball was flicked over to Drew Davis, who had an open shot but got under it. The ball went way high, and the teams went home in a tie.
"You hate to see a tie, but that's the way it happens sometimes," GW coach Tom Hopper said. "I think we took it to them and they took it to us."
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130, dougsm...@ wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.