Male versus Manual delivers once again.
Facing a 2-0 halftime deficit, the Bulldogs rallied to pull even with their crosstown rivals and play to a 2-2 draw.
“We’ve struggled this season. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that,” said Male assistant coach Chris Ernst. “We came out flat in the first half. We gave up two goals. (Manual) earned them, don’t get me wrong, but we gave up two. We kept our composure, and we were able to battle back. Maybe this is a turning point for us because our potential is through the roof.”
Male climbed back into the match in the 50th minute when Brianna Tilley beat Manual goalkeeper Kylie Seraphine to the ball and scored. Tilley and Seraphine collided on the play, and both remained on the ground for several minutes. Neither would return to the match. Coaches for both teams say their player suffered a lower-body injury.
“It was a 50-50 ball,” said Manual head coach Sheri Kiser. “It wasn’t a foul. They were both going for the ball. It was an unlucky step on both players’ part. Usually, one goes low, and one goes high. That didn’t happen. They just went right into each other.”
“They were both going for the ball,” said Ernst. “Unfortunate for both players. I’m hoping both players bounce back and are able to keep playing.”
Two minutes later, Manual was called for a foul inside its penalty area, setting up a penalty kick for the Bulldogs. Male junior Amy McGimsey cashed in with a goal against backup keeper Claire Metel to tie the match at 2-2.
“I think our backline understood that it was their mistake that cost the first goal,” said Kiser. “They were not quite as sturdy as they should’ve been, and because of that, they made another mistake.”
Manual came close to retaking the lead multiple times in the closing minutes, but ultimately, settled for the draw.
“We know we made some mistakes. We know what we have to work as a team to get better,” said Kiser. “I still think we are on our way up. We have some young players, and we’re just starting to see them come out of their shells a little bit and contribute more to the team. I think we have some good things that are going to slowly take shape.”
Avery Hedden put the Crimsons on the board in the 10th minute when her shot deflected off Ondrea Montgomery’s outstretched hands and into the net. In the 30th minute, Kira Adkins created space and fired one home for a 2-0 Manual lead.
“It would’ve been easy to give up,” said Ernst. “And (Manual) kept putting us under there at the end. We didn’t give up. We have a thin bench here and got a draw out of it. Both teams wanted to win that, but I’ll take the result.”
Manual (4-2-1) returns to action September 9 against Highlands while Male (1-3-2) is back on the pitch Saturday at Bowling Green.