MURRAY — In the final minutes of the second half, fans could feel it coming. The only way to settle the battle that had taken place for 90 minutes between Murray and Marshall was a penalty kick shootout and that was exactly where the game headed.
With the shootout began a new battle between keepers and strikers. This was still a team game, but the reality was that there would be 10 man versus man matchups and the Tigers were kicking first.
As the game had indicated all night, the teams were evenly matched and after a monster save from Tigers’ keeper Bradley Dawson on the last kick from the Marshals, the game continued into the sudden death stage of PK’s. It only took one round to decide a winner in the sudden death round. A save from Ben Burkeen, his third of the shootout, put all of the pressure squarely on Dawson and the shooter for Marshall. A calm strike to the center of the net gave Marshall the win 1-0 (4-3) in PK’s.
“Credit to their keeper, he was phenomenal in there,” head coach of the Tigers Jared Rosa said. “There’s a lot of pressure in those but really it’s a game of chance.”
For the game to reach overtime and eventually PK’s, the two sides had to endure the most physical game of the year for all involved. The first meeting between the teams had a level of grit to it but nothing compared to the absolute toughness that was required to play all 90 minutes.
“The first time was not quite like that and we’ll feel that tomorrow and so will they,” Rosa said. “It’s one of those games. When Marshall and Murray meet up it’s something.”
As the Tigers left the field last night they knew they had a chance and just missed on out cashing in a win.
“We missed three golden opportunities,” Rosa said. “We were inside the six twice one this end and once on that end and if we can just put one away there…I told the guys, ‘One or two goals is going to win this game.’”
After a brutal first half where players were constantly getting up off of the ground, the Tigers made an adjustment to their tactics that helped them earn their two excellent chances.
“I felt like we had the better opportunities in the second half,” Rosa said. “We had them pinched back in a bit and our tactic was working. We would get it in past the half line and make a few passes and try to stretch their defense out and they knew it.”
Despite the loss, Rosa and the Tigers headed home with evidence to support how good they really are and what they are capable of accomplishing.
“I feel like when we are on we can play with good team,” Rosa said.
Dawson finished the night with eight saves and the Tigers were outshot 13-8. Trevor Harrison, Michael Michael, and Trey Boggess scored during the PK shootout.
The Tigers play at Hopkins County Central on Thursday for their next action.