WHEELING - Many times when you hear about a well-played athletic event you will also hear the phrase that, "it is a shame that either team had to lose."
Saturday afternoon, Linsly and visiting Morgantown went head-to-head in a hard-fought boys' soccer match with both teams playing very well, and each having numerous opportunities to put the other away but not being able to.
So when the final horn sounded, and a final attempt by the Mohigans bounced off the top post, it was justification that neither team had actually lost the match.
Morgantown sophomore Sam Suite's blast from inside the box with just over 10 minutes to play knotted the score and both the Mohigans and Cadets missed out on late scoring chances as the teams battled to a 3-3 deadlock at wet and cool Holloway Field.
It was a game in which neither head coach, Joe Melia of Morgantown (6-2-1) or Eric Fries of Linsly (4-1-1) was happy with, but both were pleased not to be leaving with a loss.
"It was a well-played game, but if we just eliminate some defensive mistakes, I think we get a win," Melia said. "I am a little bit disappointed, but we didn't lose."
It was actually the visitors who dented the scoreboard first, just under a minute into the contest when the Mohigans advanced the ball deep into the box before senior Chris Atallah slipped a shot past Cadets keeper Jason Mull, who slipped after batting an initial shot away for a 1-0 count.
Linsly equaled the count about five minutes later on a header from senior Lucas Lorentz from Robert Felton after Morgantown failed to clear following a corner kick that knotted the score at 1-1.
Fries watched his squad take its first lead just 10 minutes in on another Lorentz goal, this time from junior Tim Chung, on a long lead pass into the middle of the box with the keeper out of position. The blast gave the hosts a 2-1 upper hand.
But the Mohigans tied it up later in the half on a Mason Minor goal from 15-feet away following a corner kick, with the 2-2 score holding up at the break.
The Cadets broke the tie just 5 minutes into the second half when Chung knocked the ball towards the goal on a header and senior Jamaal Ebanks sliding in front of the net and redirecting the ball into goal to make it 3-2.
While both teams had chances, it looked like that score might hold up until Keegan Hazen's long free kick from near midfield was collected on the rebound by Suite, who blasted the ball past Mull for the equalizer with just over 10 minutes remaining.
Linsly had a shot careen off the top post a short time later. However, it was Morgantown's David Minehart who thought he won it late when his rocket shot off the top post just as the final whistle sounded to end the contest.
"We were able to get the lead, but time and again the battled back," Fries said. "Morgantown is a very nice team and this was a great effort both ways.
"Sometimes you just don't know what is going to happen in a game like this with a wet field. Jason (Mull) slipped in the wet grass and they scored their first goal, but he was absolutely stellar in the second half.
"I felt like we were solid all the way around on defense, except for the occasional slipping, but we missed a couple of great opportunities on offense. Lucas (Lorentz) was just fantastic in the first 10 minutes of the game, but I may have made a mistake by taking him out a little early.
"We had a plan to start him and then surprise them by bringing in our regular starter, but it didn't work out like we had hoped. All-in-all, I believe this was just a very hard fought match."