The Century boys soccer team returned 10 starters this season — the most in the county.
All that experience coming back left Knights’ coach Scott Booker excited about his team’s possibilities for this season.
So far, the early part of it has been challenging, frustrating and full of ties. The latest and third tied game through four games came Wednesday night against C. Milton Wright.
The Knights (1-0-3) finished in a 1-1 deadlock with the Mustangs after 80 minutes of regulation and 20 minutes of overtime.
“Our goal is to improve in each game and I thought tonight was the best we have played this season,” Booker said. “We are making progress toward where we want to be.”
The Knights and Booker thought they scored the game winner late in the second half, but officials waved off Evan Montgomery’s shot into the back of the goal on an indirect kick with 6:17 left.
“We all thought their goalie touched it, and that it tricked into the net,” Booker said. “It kind of changed the spin after he hit it. We rebounded well to have something disappointing like that happen.”
Each team had its chances to win in sudden death.
C. Milton Wright goalie Ryan Miller made three saves in the first overtime and Century goalie Bradley Shipley made a diving stop on Donovan Abbott’s blistering shot in the second overtime.
“I thought we had some great opportunities,” C. Milton Wright coach Brian Tulley said. “We just didn’t have that final touch.”
The Knights were almost on the receiving end of an own goal with 22:58 remaining in the second half. A C. Milton Wright defender kicked the ball back to the Mustangs’ goal wide of Miller and toward the right corner of the net — Miller had to dive to the post to keep the ball from going into the back of the net.
Century’s Chris Yanchoris quickly picked up the loose ball with Miller out of position, but his shot from the right corner went just wide of the goal.
Century scored its goal only 35 seconds into the first half.
Junior midfielder Dylan Hairfield beat Miller with a shot to the lower left corner from about 12 yards out. Sterling Mead, a junior midfielder, got the assist as he hit a cross from just inside the 18-yard box to his teammate.
It didn’t take long for C. Milton Wright to answer. Connor Appleby’s shot went off a defender and into the goal with 37:07 remaining.
Each team had an excellent chance to score in the final two minutes of the first half. Shipley stopped Brett Lindsay’s point-blank shot while Miller matched his play. Miller saved consecutive shots from Yanchoris and Mason Motter on the night.
“They are a great team,” Shipley said. “We definitely stepped up. Our work rate was fantastic.”
Goals: C- Dylan Hairfield; CMW-Connor Applesby.
Assists: C- Sterling Mead; CMW-none.
Saves: C-9 (Bradley Shipley); CMW-8 (Ryan Miller).