The Hornets and Bulldogs battled to a 1-1 through double overtime, but the Hornets scored on three of their penalty kicks in the shootout to Dixon's one to win 4-2
DIXON — Complete with a lightning delay, some physicality and a trip to penalty kicks, the soccer game between the Dixon Bulldogs (0-1) and Laquey Hornets (1-1) on Tuesday did not disappoint.
The Hornets put the game away in the shootout following a 1-1 tie in regulation and two scoreless overtime periods, 4-2.
Ryan West, Collin MacDonald and Jan Hinzmann all made their PKs and they were either low and to the right or left.
On Dixon's end, the Bulldogs' first kick went wide left and the next was to the keeper. Their third kick, by Skyler Parker hit the back of the net (to his right), but the last kick was stopped to end PKs.
The largest factor may have been the fact that Michael Podurgal and the Hornets practice taking penalty kicks, whereas the Ron Bodkins and the Bulldogs do not.
“[The Hornets] are dead accurate when it comes to penalty kicks,” Bodkins said. “I'm not such a penalty kick practicer, because I don't believe in penalty kicks. I want the team to win the event, not an individual.”
Bodkins said his strategy is always to put his strongest kickers at the front of the line, but he may be changing that in the future.
“I really wasn't ready to go to PKs, I didn't have the mindset for PKs or I would have set my lineup differently,” he said. “I knew we were in a bad situation when Dylan [Ramsey] missed the goal for the first kick.”
Podurgal's strategy was a little different, as he put seniors first.
“We wanted to put the pressure on [Dixon] early,” Podurgal said. “The kicks were in the side net. They were very professional kicks. Low and to the side is almost impossible, even if the goalie jumps correctly.
“At this level very seldom do you see a goalie anticipate, like in the pros, where they jump to the right or to the left. They basically wait for the kick. If you put it low and to the side netting, nobody is going to get that at our level.”
He said, without a doubt, he knew his first seven kickers could make their shot.
Helping his confidence though, could be the fact that even if they didn't, he has a top-notch goalkeeper in Remington Hayes putting the brakes on Dixon's offense.
Hayes has really taken a giant step forward in his play over the years.
“We've got a great goalie,” Podurgal said. “Two saves and the one miss, we ended it early. We'll take that. I didn't mind going to penalty kicks, I really didn't, I knew we had a good chance.”
Hayes talked about his strategy in PKs after the game.
“Mainly, I was focusing on where they were standing and which way they approached the ball when they were kicking it,” Hayes said, before switching his focus to his offensive players. “All of them had good kicks. You can't beat that.”
Early in the game though, the Bulldogs were putting all of the pressure on Laquey.
Following a delay caused by lightning in the area, Dixon went up 1-0 when freshman Trevor Graves took a throw-in from Gavin Barnhart and punched it in with 47 seconds left in the half, despite the traffic surrounding the goal.
Hayes admitted his team became worried following that goal, but determined.
“Counting last year, we've only been down once at halftime,” Hayes said. “That gave us a little more incentive to keep the drive going and our energy up.”
Dixon's lead lasted a long time.
Laquey had trouble keeping the ball on the offensive side of the field.
“Our better midfield players didn't seem to control the ball very well,” Podurgal said. “So, I kept switching our offensive mid with our defensive mid and sometimes we put a third midfielder back there to see if we could control the ball.
Not to mention, there was some leeway being given by the referees as to how much pushing, shoving and bumping was being allowed.
Several players had dirty jerseys following the game, and it wasn't all due to them sliding into balls or falling down on the grass that had been wetted by the sprinkle that came through early in the game.
“The game, as it went on really got physical and particularly our smaller guys were getting beat up,” Podurgal said. “Of course, that's from my perspective. We continued to be knocked down, and the ground was a little bit slick, but it was like, why don't we get some calls like that. But that's sour grapes.”
Both teams were getting away with extracurricular activity, but Laquey was the only team that received yellow cards for it. They ended up with two of those.
Bodkins said his team wouldn't have played physical if that wasn't how the game was turning to begin with.
“We generally don't start off physical,” he said. “If the other team is physical and the officials let it go, the boys will compensate. We always try to start off playing a good, clean game.”
With 13:12 remaining in the game, the Hornets' Jan Hinzmann made a beautiful cross from the left side of the field and Ryan West came in to kick the ball into the goal with his left foot.
That tied the game at one and the tie held through two overtime periods before Laquey took the game in penalty kicks.
The loss puts Dixon at 0-1 and with the win, Laquey moves to 1-1 after losing to College Heights Christian School on Friday, Aug. 22.
The Hornets will play St. James at home on Tuesday, Sept. 2 and Dixon will travel to Father Tolton Catholic High School on Thursday, Aug. 28.