Nike Palmetto Cup: Keepers rule the day in main event

04/15/2014 11:56 PM

04/15/2014 11:57 PM

In a heavyweight battle, Brookland-Cayce and Irmo fought to a scoreless draw in the Nike Palmetto Cup on Tuesday at Brookland-Cayce.

“It was an 80-minute war. It’s a little bit of a shame that some team didn’t get the win,” Bearcats coach Kevin Heise said.

Heise, whose team is hosting the 22nd annual tournament, said Irmo is the state’s standard-bearer for boys soccer.

“If you can go toe-to-toe with them, you’ve got a pretty good program. I’m just a little sour right now because I feel like we left a couple of opportunities on the table,” he said.

Irmo coach Matt Brophy tipped his hat to the Bearcats.

“I thought we played pretty well against a big-time team. They are a big-time team, and this is a hard place to get a win,” said Brophy, whose Yellow Jackets are ranked fourth in Class 4A.

The Bearcats, No. 2 in Class 3A, matched Irmo shot-for-shot through most of the game, but neither team could get a clear upper hand.

“We missed a sitter,” Brophy said. “We had more shots than they did, we just didn’t put it away.”

The first half featured eight shots on goal and strong play from both keepers. Brookland-Cayce keeper Jonathan Linton made two crucial saves early to keep the Yellow Jackets from going ahead, and in the 30th minute, an Irmo crossing shot went amiss, narrowly missing the far post on the way out of bounds.

The Bearcats got a good look at the goal with four minutes left in the first half, but the header from directly in front of the goal hung high.

The tension kept building in the second half, as neither team could sustain offensive momentum.

Three minutes into the second half, David Koprowski fired a strong ground ball from 30 yards out, but Irmo keeper Hunter Wages dove on it just inside the goalie box. And in the 55th minute, Koprowski dribbled through three defenders and passed to Aaron Davis. Davis’ shot from in front of the goal hit the right post and fell dead at the line, where Wages recovered.

Linton finished with five saves of nine shots on goal. Wages had three saves.

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