Rivals Gibault, Columbia battle to intense 1-1 tie

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Columbia’s Cameron Roth and Gibault’s Caleb Schilling contest possession of a ball near the sideline at Oerter Field Tuesday night. (Alan Dooley photo)

When rivals Gibault and Columbia meet on the soccer field, fans can count on seeing a close, tough, tense, physical and hard-fought game.

Tuesday night’s match at Oerter Park was no different. After 80 minutes of regulation and two 10-minute overtimes, the Hawks and Eagles finished deadlocked in a 1-1 tie.

Both teams had their chances in the first half of regulation, but it was Columbia who struck first. A failed clearance in the Gibault goal box led to a turnover for Columbia. Eagles senior Scott Gannon played a perfect through ball across to teammate Matthew Roderick, who was streaking in from the center. Roderick swiftly blasted the ball into the right corner, giving his team a 1-0 lead with 12 minutes left in the first half. The Eagles would take that lead into the break.

Gibault came out firing in the second half. Barely one minute in, Hawks forward Zach Rueter broke free of Columbia’s defense and fired a shot on goal, but Eagles goalie Matt Hutchinson made the save.

After the scare, Columbia started to take over possession. The Eagles had several good chances and maintained pressure. Hawks goalkeeper Trevor Davis made several nice saves to keep his team in the game and the Gibault defense stood strong.

Just as it seemed the Eagles might be wearing their rivals down, the Hawks found a way back into the game. Sophomore Ben Mueth made some great runs down the sideline, creating several quality scoring opportunities for Gibault, each of them turned away by Hutchinson and the Eagles defense.

As time dwindled down, Gibault’s All-State defender Andrew Reinholz moved up to forward. Once again, the senior co-captain made his presence felt. With five minutes remaining, the Hawks received a corner kick. Ethan Shields’ curling corner found a leaping Reinholz, who nodded it on goal. The ball deflected off the crossbar and rolled to the feet of junior Jake Rueter, who tapped it across to tie the game, sending the Gibault faithful into hysterics.

Though the clock ticked off sounding the end of regulation, fans were treated to a rare regular season overtime session. With regional seedings possibly at stake, the Hawks and Eagles agreed to play two 10-minute overtimes to try and determine a winner.

The first overtime had players and fans on their toes, as the two rivals went back and forth in an intense battle. Both teams had excellent scoring chances, but neither side gave in. The first overtime ended the way it started, with the Eagles and Hawks deadlocked.

Fatigue seemed to take over in the second overtime period, as the pace of the game slowed considerably. Both teams had chances, but were unable to find the net. When the final buzzer sounded, players from each side fell to the ground exhausted. The game ended in a 1-1 draw, meaning fans will have to wait until the next installment in this great rivalry — possibly come playoff time — to determine a true winner.

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