LEBANON — During the first 10 minutes of the their annual city showdown with Althoff on Thursday, it appeared nothing could slow the Belleville West Maroons as they jumped out to quick 2-0 lead
But then complacency set in and the Crusaders woke up.
Sophomore Shannon Maitland and senior Rachel Kaltwasser scored goals 11 minutes apart midway in the first half to erase the Crusaders' early deficit and the teams battled to a draw the rest of the way, settling for a 2-2 tie in a nonconference match.
Putting immediate pressure on a Crusaders' team playing its third game of the week, the Maroons took advantage of the fast artificial turf field at McKendree University to grab an early two-goal lead.
Sophomore Brittany Gallego and senior Sydnee Carroll did the damage for West (6-2-1), which looked to be in top form.
"They (West) came out early and we weren't ready to play. Eight or nine minutes into the game and we're down 2-0. At this point, we couldn't even complain because they were doing everything and we got caught watching the ball,'' Althoff coach Juergen Huettner said. "The goal off the corner-kick from Maitland kind of got us going with a little momentum and we ended up tying the game shortly after.
"We got a little lucky on the second goal, but sometimes you need that. I thought we came out and dominated the second half. We just didn't take advantage of our opportunities.'''
Although trailing 2-0, it could have been worse for the Crusaders (6-4-1). West had a couple of scoring chances before denting the scoreboard for first time eight minutes into the game.
"I liked the way we came out and played early. Then I thought we got a little complacent. We got happy with where we were at and two defensive errors later in the first half and it's a tie game,'' Maroons coach Jason Mathenia said. "Shannon (Maitland) is a good player and we leave her unguarded off the corner kick and she finds the back of the net on us.
"The second goal was just a defensive breakdown on our part and they took advantage of it.''
Although neither team could break the tie during the final 40 minutes, it wasn't from a lack of chances.
West goalie Mackenzie White made a couple of diving saves -- including one from point-blank range when she outran Maitland to a ball rolling in front of the goal. Althoff senior Natalie Heitzman also had a could of good opportunities off free kicks, which just sailed over the cross bar.
West midfielder Amelia Coyne also came up just short on at least two occasions.
Coyne's best chance came off a severe angle from the right side when her shot hit the side of the goal.
"It was a game that went back and forth and both teams had chances,'' Mathenia said. "We had a chance off a dead ball and the ball goes off the goal post.
"But I thought the girls played well. Both sides played well and battled hard in a game which was a good city match.''