By Bob Flynn
Register Sports Writer
Model Laboratory (4-0) got three unanswered second-half goals to pull out a come-from-behind 3-1 win over Madison Southern (3-1) Thursday.
The game featured everything you would expect from two undefeated district rivals — intensity, outstanding plays on both sides and physicality from the get go.
“This was undoubtedly the toughest of the four team’s we’ve played thus far. They were very physical and they played extremely hard,” Model coach Steve Savage said. “I think we played smart for the most part and played hard and finally were able to break through on their keeper at the end.”
Southern coach James Ray said he thought his team played well and with a break or two, the outcome could have been different.
“Soccer can be a cruel game. Both teams had good opportunities to score. They were able to convert a couple of theirs and we weren’t,” Ray said. “Hopefully the next time we come out we can get one or two more into the back of the net and change the result around.”
Thanks to the great play of goalkeepers Levi Agee of Model and Ethan Pike of Southern — who each made several diving stops of shots from point-blank range — the game remained scoreless at the half.
But that changed quickly after intermission.
Sophomore Tanner Kidwell slipped a shot by Agee just inside the right post on an assist from Nick Wallace to put the Eagles on top 1-0 less than six minutes into the half.
The aggressive Southern defense made that lead stand up until the 20:40 mark when Model took advantage of back-to-back penalty kick opportunities.
Andrew Wylie was awarded a penalty kick with 20:49 to go.
Once again Pike stood tall and came up with a big play to keep Wylie’s shot out of the net.
But the ball slipped off Pike’s hands in front of the goal and as Wylie was going for the ball on the rebound Pike was called for a penalty for grabbing Wylie’s foot, giving Model another chance.
This time Wylie came through on the PK, drilling the ball into the left corner of the net past a diving Pike to tie the game at 1-1.
Less than two minutes later, the Patriots took a 2-1 lead when first-year senior Jack Frisbie headed in a ball that had rebounded off the foot of teammate Noah Valencia on a corner throw in.
Valencia put the game away for the Patriots with a goal with just less than four minutes remaining.
Though disappointed with the outcome, Ray said he liked what he saw from his team.
“It was a tough game and that’s what we expected it to be with district rivals. I can’t fault us at all. Our effort was stupendous. I’m proud of the effort of the kids, they played exceptionally hard,” Ray said.
The score on the penalty kick seemed to give Model new energy, and for the first time in the game, they became the aggressor and began to control the tempo.
Ray credited Model’s late-game surge to the efforts of Wylie.
“Model picked up and started getting after it more. For most of the game we were able to keep Wylie off the ball. But he started getting his foot on the ball more and started controlling the game,” Ray said. “He’s an extremely good playmaker and when he can get hold of it he really sets them up to make good plays.”
Model will be back in action on Saturday when they travel to Danville to take on Boyle County at noon.
Southern returns to action on Tuesday when they host Whitley County at 6 p.m.