MAGNA — When the final whistle echoed across the field at Cyprus High School Tuesday afternoon in the preseason bout between the host Pirates and the Olympus Titans, the scoreboard read 0-0.
Nothing over the course of 90 minutes of soccer, including two five-minute overtime periods, could separate the teams.
Truth be told, it wasn’t for a lack of trying.
The Titans had many scoring opportunities, including a free kick by Din Huremovic which nailed the post. There was also a headed attempt by Hayden Earl that barely missed the frame of the goal. Alec Foulger, Adam Naylor and Josh Gubler had their chances as well, only to come up empty.
The same held true for the Pirates, specifically on tries by Mahonri Xochipa, Jair Ortiz and Julian Gonzalez.
In most instances, the lack of a decision and the missed opportunities would have grated on both teams and there were moments where it did.
“It was not the best game we have had. We could have done better,” Cyprus goalkeeper Jose Arellano said.
And yet both teams came away feeling pleased with their respective performances.
“I come away from this feeling just fine,” Olympus head coach Chris Sonntag said. “Everything was what we were trying to accomplish, other than putting it in the net. For 90 percent of the game, we did exactly what I wanted. The passing was sharp and clear. We were attacking and defending well.”
Sonntag was particularly happy with the Titans effort, which was clear on close outs.
“I really liked the way we closed down on whoever had the ball,” he said. “We were relentless.”
When they weren’t, the Pirates were able to muster an effective attack, which at times almost netted them the win.
“We learned from our mistakes,” Arellano said. “At the beginning, they attacked and we needed to be better. As soon as we attacked, we had more opportunities. We got a good result.”
That was especially true for a Cyprus team that was seriously undermanned.
Per head coach Jason DeHerrera, who wasn’t even at the game due to a prior work commitment, Cyprus’ best player, Brandon Cervantes, was out due to a suspension, which he incurred in the Pirates’ previous contest against Granger.Comment on this story
In addition to Cervantes, Cyprus was down many of its starting 11, due to injury.
To earn a draw against one of the top 5A teams was as good a result as any.
Ultimately, the final preseason contest proved an apropos warmup for the regular season.
“In preseason, it is good to have the ups and downs,” Sonntag said. “It is good to gain experiences and you have to practice overtimes. Overtime, when you are tired and the pressure is on. I wanted to win the game, but this was good preparation for sure.”