It took two overtime frames but in the end, the Class 2A 11th ranked ADM boys soccer team came out of a defensive battle on top, besting sixth-ranked Perry at home by a 1-0 margin.
It was such a defensive battle that not only did no score exist through the first 40 minutes of action, but no score existed throughout the entire 80 minutes of regulation. After Perry was awarded a penalty kick with eight minutes left in regulation, the contest then moved into overtime. From there, ten extra minutes was not enough, thus sending the game into yet another overtime frame. The lone score of the game came in heroic fashion as a Justin Annear cross found the head of Nolan Harsh who put on his high jumping shoes for a bit and knocked in the game winning goal.
“It’s all kind of a blur but I’ve got to give a lot of credit to Justin who gave a nice cross and without that placement, I wouldn’t have been able to score,” said Harsh. “I knew about halfway there and I had a good thought that if I connected, it would go in.”
It marked the first varsity goal of the season for Harsh and it came at a critical juncture as it kept ADM in the running for at least a share of the Raccoon River Conference crown.
It was a game marred in defensive excellence and for the likes of ADM, it began by facing a rather unconventional defensive set up from the visiting Blue Jays.
“Perry did throw out a different defensive format than what we’re used to with a 3-2, 3-2 set up,” began Tiger head coach Bill Shields. “It’s easier to move out on the edges that way but Perry did a good job of expanding the defense and we didn’t take advantage of the open opportunities on the outside.”
It marked just the fourth time all season long where the Tigers were limited to one goal or less but the sixth time where the Tigers shut out the opposing offense. Tuesday night, a big reason for that was the work of junior Zach Fuller who’s two saves with under 25 minutes to keep the Tigers in the game to eventually come out on top. Another big reason was the work of the Tiger defense within the midfield, a defense that stopped multiple Perry runs.
“Perry is a good passing team especially in the midfield and usually that translates into goals but tonight we did a good job of not letting their passing abilities develop into scoring opportunities,” said Shields. “Defensively I was extremely happy with that because Perry is one of the better teams we’ll see in terms of dominating midfield play.”
ADM now improves to 9-5 on the season and will have two more conference tests ahead of them as they look for a share of the conference crown. The Tigers host Bondurant-Farrar on Friday, May 10 before turning around and traveling to Carlisle on Monday, May 13 for their final conference contest against the Wildcats.