Edwardsville seized second-half momentum Thursday, but it didn’t last long.
Senior Max Kieffer scored to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead at 44 minutes, 25 seconds, but O’Fallon senior Jake Koenig answered with a penalty kick 58 seconds later to make it 1-1, and that was the end of the scoring as the teams finished in a tie in two overtimes in a Southwestern Conference game.
“In my eyes, it was a legitimate foul,” said Koenig, who was taken down inside the box by junior Matt Busse, then finished the PK inside the right post as Edwardsville junior keeper Dan Picchiotti broke to his right.
“The guy (Busse) came in too hard on a 50-50,” Koenig said. “In my eyes, it was a call. In Edwardsville’s eyes, that’s not going to be called. But the ref called it and it is what it is.”
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to Belleville News-Democrat
What it was, in Koenig’s estimation, was a quality outcome for the fast-starting Panthers, who are 4-0-1 overall and 0-0-1 in the SWC.
“To come into Edwardsville’s house, the top program in the Midwest, and get a tie is a good result in my eyes. I’m satisfied,” said Koenig, who has nine goals. “It was huge (to answer them), because if you let that go on for five, 10, 15 minutes, maybe we’re not fortunate enough to get one back. It was good to bounce back right away.”
Edwardsville coach Mark Heiderscheid bemoaned the loss of momentum that had been established when Kieffer scored inside the box on a feed from junior Mohammad Hamad. Kieffer beat senior goalie Kyle Rademacher with a low shot into the right side of the netting.
“It was a deserved PK,” Heiderscheid said of the call on Busse. “All of a sudden, the first ball’s played in and they get a PK. I really can’t fault our kids much on that one because the guy (Busse) was going in there on the ball, but he did foul him on that one.”
O’Fallon coach Jason Turkington has often walked away from Edwardsville (3-0-3 overall, 2-1 SWC) wondering what went wrong. But not after the latest game between the SWC powers.
“I’ve come here too many times over the last 15 years and had some stupid breakdown and a dumb goal, and we lose and it’s like, ‘What? How did that just happen?’” Turkington said. “I just wanted to go home. I didn’t want to give up another dumb goal. It’s a tough place to play just because of the history and our lack of history here.
“That was a lot of hard, intense soccer by both teams. (The Tigers) are beat up and I had about five starters who were like, ‘Ow!’ in the first half, just from getting beat up. It’s tough to play such a big game so early in the season in conference.”
More from Heiderscheid
Heiderscheid said the Tigers have much work to do before the postseason.
“We’ve had to do some replacing of our front six,” he said. “It’s going to take a long time this season compared to others for us to really get things quite as organized as a team. Basically, everybody out there on the pitch except for (Hamad) is different.”
How long will it take to patch things together?
“Playoffs,” cracked Heiderscheid.
O’Fallon outshot Edwardsville 8-6. The Panthers committed 16 fouls to the Tigers’ 12.
The strangest number was the low amount of corner kicks. O’Fallon had two and Edwardsville had one, with the Tigers’ only attempt coming late in the second half.
Edwardsville will play at Alton Marquette at 6 p.m. Monday. O’Fallon will face Glendale High from Springfield, Mo., at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Louis University High.
Other games Thursday
Belleville West, which lost to Collinsville 4-0 in its season opener Tuesday, rebounded in a major way Thursday with a 4-1 victory over previously unbeaten Waterloo.
Sean Gouveia, Kody Kuhlmann, Max Oplt and Drake Terveer scored for the Maroons (1-1), while Clay Metz had the lone goal for the Bulldogs (5-1), one of the metro-east’s top Class 2A teams.
Columbia, meanwhile, recorded an easy 7-0 victory over Mascoutah, which also was previously undefeated.
Kyle Gudeman had four goals and Sean Rickey chipped in with two for the Eagles (2-0-1). Sam Spivey also scored. The Indians fell to 3-1.
Althoff improved to 4-3 with a 4-3 victory over host Centralia. Jimmy Monken had two goals for the Crusaders, while Justin Robinson and Alex Langenstein had one apiece.
Robinson has nine goals, which are tied for the second-most in the metro-east with O’Fallon’s Koenig.