by Jacob Schwartz
Although the Red Hawks outplayed the Tigers, a penalty kick in the final minutes of the game helped boys’ soccer, 2-4-2, attain a 1-1 tie against Natick Thursday.
Natick earned a 1-0 lead early, and the Tigers fought for the tieing goal for the rest of the game.
To earn the Tigers’ only goal, Sean McIntyre brought the ball to the left side of the goal on a fast break as he was pushed out of bounds by a Natick defender. The referees called a foul on Natick and awarded McIntyre a penalty kick.
“I tried to fake out the goalie to the left and then shoot it to the right,” McIntyre said. His penalty kick approach paid off, with Natick’s goalie lunging to the left as the shot sailed into the lower right corner of the net.
Coach Roy Dow said, “Any way we can get points works for us. We waited until the right time to get the goal and really stole a point from them.”
The Tigers had very few scoring opportunities, and Natick had possession of the ball for most of the game. Just a few minutes into the first half, Natick was able to squeeze the ball past senior Andrew Leaper, the Tigers’ goalie, in a breakaway, to give Natick the lead.
Thirty minutes into the game, a powerful shot by a Natick forward ricocheted off the crossbar. Natick continued to almost score for the rest of the game, penetrating the Tigers’ defense time and time again. Leaper made many impressive saves and kept the team alive.
“We were definitely outplayed,” Dow said. “They were pounding down our throats the whole game.”
Senior Zach Balder, a defender who was vital to stopping Natick from scoring more than once, also said the team’s defense needed improvement at first. “Our defense slacked off in the beginning,” he said. “But, after the first twenty minutes we picked up the pace.”