By Marion Valanoski
For The Daily Item
DANVILLE -- Most coaches coming off the athletic field following a tie would either look at their respective team's glass as being half full or half empty, knowing that all the hard work and effort did not produce the ultimate end result: victory.
That was not the case for Danville High School girls soccer mentor Tom Craig, who believed Monday's 1-1 deadlock against perennial standout Lewisburg was a notch in the win column as far as he was concerned, and he truly meant it.
"When you are young and come into a match with a 1-5 record and finish the day with a tie against a quality opponent like Lewisburg, it's like a win to me," Craig said. "We've been in all of our matches and just seem to have come up short. Once we learn how to finish, we will be that much better as a team."
Neither team had much to brag about after a lackluster first half, although the Green Dragons (3-2-2) held the edge in the statistics column, and more importantly, held the Ironmen (1-5-1) to no shots on goal.
Whatever was said at the break by both coaches seemed to work, as the action seemed to pick up and eventually so did the scoring.
Danville provided the home team with a 1-0 lead at the 32:13 mark of the second half on a penalty kick which Erin Raup managed to drive past Lewisburg goalie Mariah Brouse, who would finish the night with six saves.
"We had chances but could not put the ball in the net," Green Dragons coach Jose Vega said. "Once we gave up the penalty kick and found ourselves trailing, our momentum seemed to come back and we became more aggressive and went at their defense."
At the 8:21 mark, Lewisburg broke through the Danville defense and had two good opportunities to tie the score, but could not get the ball past Ironmen goalie Kayla Morran, who was solid in the net all game and had some nice grabs.
However, senior Kaitlyn Donnelly, who had just missed scoring moments earlier, dribbled through the Danville defenders and drilled a shot that this time eluded Morran to deadlock the score at 1 with 6:25 remaining in regulation.
Try as they could, neither team, despite a few runs at the net, were able to slip anything past their respective goalie counterparts; the match went into double overtime, where shots were few and far between and the final stood at 1-1.
"We spent too much time watching and not reacting quickly to the ball," Vega said. "I thought we created some scoring opportunities, but our struggles to finish them off have continued.
"I thought we let one get away from us today."
Craig believes his team is getting closer to finding the individual who can be the offensive dynamo, but it may take a few more matches.
"We're close," Craig said. "We had our chances too, but again could not finish off what we started and that's been our problem to date. But we are getting closer."