ORWELL — After 80 minutes of soccer, both the Grand Valley and Geneva benches probably had to feel like frustration was the winner of their Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division match.
The two county teams played to a 1-1 draw at GV High School Tuesday night.
Aside from trading off one goal apiece, the teams exchanged strong defensive stands and their share of missed offensive opportunities.
In the end, Eagles coach Jeff Hull and Mustangs coach Rick Huffman both felt their teams left something on the field that prevented them from coming away with a win.
“We had a lot of expectations to walk out of here with a ‘W’ tonight,” Hull said. “We couldn’t finish many of the opportunities we had in the first half.
“I think if we finish one of the six, seven, eight opportunities we had in the first half, it’s a completely different ballgame.”
Geneva grabbed a 1-0 early lead when Owen Pfeifer broke ahead and found Ari Loveridge on his right.
Loveridge beat Mustangs keeper Andrew Verhas, and booted the ball into the back left corner of the net.
The Eagles controlled possession for much of the first half, limiting GV from chances to equalize.
Huffman said his team knew full well what the Geneva would bring defensively, but his group simply did not respond at the outset.
“We’ve been coming out slow for whatever reason,” Huffman said. “We knew their physicality and we know what Jeff brings. We know he’s going to attack our strikers and he’s going to hit them hard. I kept telling my boys, ‘Two games we’ve come behind in the second half, one of these nights you’re going to dig too big of a hole and not be able to get out.’
“Tonight was one of those nights. I’m glad we came back and got the tie, but our boys did not play half as well as they could have tonight.”
GV (3-0-1) looked much more like the aggressors in the second half of the match.
They outshot the Eagles 11-8, with six being on target.
Geneva had a 12-9 shot advantage in the first half.
After a barrage of good shots, the Mustangs tied the match at the 26:20 mark when David Marciella settled a rebound off the chest of Geneva keeper Merrik Cunningham and punched it home.
GV’s Jordan Briggs had a good look minutes later, but his shot sailed over the top of the goal.
The Eagles (1-3-2) had their best shot at breaking the tie when Loveridge went one on one with Verhas, who dove to his left to deflect the ball away.
Verhas finished with 13 saves and Cunningham had nine.
“We had our chances,” Huffman said. “Their goalie made some great saves, ours did too.”
Hull added, “We’re just not finishing. We had a lot of opportunities, we’re just not getting them in the back of the net, but kudos to their goaltender.
“He played an excellent game. He had three or four saves that I thought were goals. He played an excellent game.”
Both teams are slated to play Thursday night.
The Eagles will be at SPIRE against Perry, while the Mustangs will host Mathews.