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For the second time this season, neither the Wilson Christian Academy soccer team nor Greenfield could beat the other in the end.
In a rematch of an Aug. 30 game against each other, the Knights and Chargers tied 3-3 on Monday night after a tight back-and-forth contest where both teams, at times, took over the game and went on goal streaks.
Greenfield was surprised early with an attack from Wilson Christian that exploited holes in the defense from the start.
Ethan Mitchell hammered home the first goal of the night with 34:46 minutes left to play in the first half to give Wilson Christian the early lead. Less than a minute later, his teammate, Gabe Barnes scored to give the Chargers a 2-0 lead.
“When you give up two goals in the first (six) minutes, it definitely puts you in a bad situation,” Greenfield head coach Eric Nguyen said. “We came out cocky after the win over Fayetteville Academy on Friday and we weren’t ready to go. Credit to Wilson Christian, they took advantage of our mistakes and put them away.”
Charger head coach Don Samson said the start showed off maybe the team’s best offensive attack all season.
“The guys just got it tonight,” Samson said. “In those first 10 minutes, we were connected, we were communicating what we were doing and we were just finding what was open and taking advantage.”
But after a goal-filled start, things slowed down from there as the Greenfield defense settled down the Wilson Christian attack. Another goal for the home team Chargers would be hard to come by.
After a few near-misses, the Chargers took a 2-0 lead into the half with plenty of time for Greenfield to come back, as the Knights’ fans reminded the players when play resumed.
“They definitely came out really strong,” Barnes said. “It took me like 30 minutes to get out of breath in this first half and within five I was just ready for a sub. They were definitely working it hard.”
It didn’t take long for the Knights to mount a comeback. In the 57th minute, senior defender William Powell redirected a shot deep in the box into the back of the goal. Twenty-five seconds later, a goal from Zeke Ferrell tied the game up with most of the second half to go.
The once large 2-0 lead was gone.
“A lead is just a lead, it’s not a win,” Barnes explained.
Another goal by Ferrell with just under 25 minutes left to play gave Greenfield its first lead of the night after three uncontested goals left Wilson Christian on its heels.
With 17 minutes left in the half, though, Wilson Christian scored again to make it 3-3, the eventual final score. The goal was credited to Barnes in the moment, but Barnes later said he never made contact with the ball as it was redirected into the box. He credited Brant Hughes with the goal.
“I never touched it,” he said. “I’ve got to give him his credit.”
In the final minutes of play, neither team found enough room on the attack to score the game-winning goal. After a battle between the two schools, neither could walk away with the win.
Over recent games, matchups between Greenfield and Wilson Christian have been too close for either’s comfort.
Over the last two years, every game between the two schools has been separated by a goal or less.
“We just love competiting against them,” Samson said. “A lot of these guys know each other outside of school. They’re friends and it’s just fun to get together to compete, especially non-conference. It’s a good opportunity to see different things from each other and be challenged.”