GRC boys soccer rallies twice to tie Conner

Published 11:20 pm Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The George Rogers Clark High School boys soccer team rallied from a deficit twice Tuesday night to finish with a 2-2 tie against Conner in the regular-season finale.

Conner took a one-goal lead twice in the game, but the Cardinals rallied each time to stave off defeat and wrap up the season with an 11-3-2 record.

“It was a tough game,” GRC coach Walter Ridener said. “There were some weird calls, going both ways. Some inconsistent stuff. I hate to say that, but the referee didn’t have a good game tonight.”

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But the Cardinals were able to overcome the adversity to tie things up. The Cougars struck first with a goal inside the first four minutes. GRC nearly tied things about 10 minutes later when Clayton Parks hit the post. The Cardinals did find the equalizer off the foot of Parks in the final minute of the half. The goal came thanks to a Josh Bailey assist with 53 seconds left on the clock.

With 24 minutes left in the second half, Conner struck again. GRC out-possessed the Cougars the rest of the way, but didn’t find the tying goal until Parks struck a pass from Ryan Sosa past the Conner keeper with nine minutes left in the game.

“Last year’s team, or the year before, they probably would have laid down,” Ridener said. “We’re close to where we need to be this time of year. I’m still waiting for that really good game where everything is coming together and everyone is hitting on all eight cylinders.”

Ridener likes how his defense looks as the postseason nears.

“They played well,” he said. “They always do. Spencer (McCord) is probably the anchor to that whole thing. He’s playing the best ball I’ve seen him play in the four years I’ve been here. He may end being the best defender in this region the way he plays.

“Thomas (Skaggs) played well tonight, too. He’s doing a lot of things I’ve thought he was capable of doing. He’s playing smart.”

The Cardinals will enjoy a week off before the district tournament. They are scheduled to be back in action Tuesday against Bourbon County at Montgomery County. GRC has the No. 2 seed in the tournament, losing out on the top seed after a loss on penalty kicks to Montgomery in Mount Sterling last month.

“We’re hoping to get another shot at Montgomery County,” Ridener said. “We’re still susceptible to that ball over the top (past the defense) so we have to tighten up in the midfield. All those balls come out of the midfield, so we have to defend in there.”

The Cards topped Bourbon, 6-1, back on Sept. 11 in Paris.

The district championship game will likely be scheduled for Thursday in Mount Sterling. The district champ and runner-up will advance to the 10th Region Tournament.