MANKATO — Just when things were starting to look kind of dire for the Mankato East boys soccer team, senior Brandon Treinen and sophomore Ben Schwartz combined for the equalizer.
The duo teamed up to score the game-tying goal with just over eight minutes left in regulation, enabling the Cougars to earn a 2-2 tie with Holy Family Catholic on Saturday at Thomas O. Anderson Fields. Both teams had chances in the two five-minute overtime sessions but no one could score.
“I knew we were in for a digfight today,” East coach Jerrad Aspelund said afterward. “They don’t have the best record but they play a very tough nonconference schedule.
“They played Eden Prairie the other day and only lost 1-0. Eden Prairie is the No. 1-ranked team in AA so that’s pretty good.”
Saturday’s game was filled with numerous stoppages of play as officials handed out a bevy of yellow cards and even a few red cards. Aspelund felt the stoppages negatively affected both teams.
“We just couldn’t get into a flow and neither could they,” he said. “There seemed to be a lot of questionable calls and no-calls but I don’t think it affected the outcome of the game. It was just a good, even battle.”
The Cougars got on the board first, as HFC pulled Schwartz down from behind while he was going in for a breakaway. Onadipe calmly netted the ensuing penalty kick by goalkeeper John Pearson to give the Cougars a 1-0 lead at the 7:24 mark.
Two minutes later, the Fire tied the score as the ball got by junior netminder Nick Olson. Just before the half, with 2:07 left, HFC scored again and the visitors took a 2-1 lead into the break.
“We preach every day how you don’t want to give a goal in the first 10 minutes or last 10 minutes of a half,” Aspelund said. “And then we allow them to score right before the end of the half. It’s frustrating.”