HOLLADAY — The Olympus boys soccer team began its defense of the 4A state championship with a double-overtime slugfest against rival East that ended in a scoreless tie Friday afternoon. The 0-0 game featured scant scoring opportunities and timing issues from both sides, but enough effort and focus to keep both coaching staffs feeling positive moving forward.
“That’s typical Olympus versus East game — physical — and overall I thought it was a good first outing for us,” said Olympus coach Chris Sonntag. “We struggled keeping possession early on, but that got better the more we ran around, so that’s positive.”
Olympus lost a lot of its players from last year’s championship team, but started the season with some quality returners — particularly on the defensive end. Time and again the Titan defense held strong against the Leopard attack throughout regulation and into both overtime periods.
Given the length of the match Olympus was able to use a lot of different players while gaining some good conditioning.
“It’s great taking the field as defending champions and I definitely saw a lot of things out there that were promising,” Sonntag said. “It’s great getting your first game and we’ll continue to grow and hopefully compete like we did last year. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but I felt this was a good start.”
For East, it was much the same story. Coach Rudy Schenk fielded a lot of new players after losing the majority of his team to graduation last year.
“Even though it’s pretty cold out here it’s great to be outside after holding tryouts and practices inside,” Schenk said. “I really liked our defensive effort today, so that’s really encouraging. We have a lot of new guys back there, but they were solid.”
Like Olympus, East gained better rhythm offensively during the latter stages and particularly during the two overtime periods.
“Rhythm is always a problem at the first of the year and we saw that today, but we know that will get better in time,” Schenk said. “Guys need to get used to each other more, but to come in here against the defending state champs and come away with a tie — I think that’s a positive thing for us, although it’s obviously better to come away with a win. We’ll take it and work to improve next week and for the rest of the season.”