08/24/06 — Warriors and Demons finish tied

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Warriors and Demons finish tied

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on August 24, 2006 2:41 PM

Pleased and grateful.

Eastern Wayne coach Jörg Wagner and Wilson Fike coach Toni Varacchi offered those summations after their respective men's soccer teams battled to a 1-1 draw Wednesday evening at Little Big Horn.

Wagner's squad showed signs of fatigue and struggled with communication on defense, but managed to remain unbeaten at 1-0-1 overall. Eastern Wayne is 2-1-1 against Fike in their last four outings, including a playoff win last season.

Meanwhile, Varacchi's charges rebounded from a disappointing season-opening loss against Charles B. Aycock on Monday. The Golden Demons, the reigning NEW Athletic 6 champions, controlled the flow of play the entire 80 minutes.

"I think it showed, after our success Monday at North Lenoir, that we still have quite a few things to work on," said Wagner. "(Our) fitness level, individual defensive coverage and communication was average to poor tonight."

Wagner, in fact, seemed almost grateful that the Warriors salvaged a 1-1 tie on Eric Suncin's second-half goal.

Defensive lapses and lost possessions in Demon territory drew Wagner's ire most of the evening. Fike utilized simple passes and Eastern Wayne attempted to contain players one-on-one. The strategy didn't neutralize the Demons' attacking style.

"They hit a target player early, then bring two or three players in behind him," said Wagner. "All of a sudden you find that your sweeper and keeper have to make fantastic plays, and that's really something that we want to avoid."

Fike attempted 25 shots on goal and struck early in the fourth minute. Austen King settled a loose ball from teammate Corey Autry and fired a perfect strike to the upper left-hand corner of the net.

King missed a header off a corner kick midway through the second half.

"Sometimes that's the way the ball bounces," said Varacchi. "Tonight we had good looks at the goal, but couldn't put it away. But it was a one-hundred percent turnaround, execution-wise, from Monday's game.

"I was pleased today to walk away with a tie."

Eastern Wayne's Bryan Coltrane just missed converting a header off a corner kick. Suncin drilled a shot that died on the soggy pitch just inches from the goal line at the near post. No one followed the shot and Fike keeper Tony Ernest smothered the ball to preserve the draw.

"The keeper made a great save," said Wagner.

Notes: Fike owned a 25-17 edge in shots on goal and 6-2 advantage in corner kicks. ... Hagedorn notched eight saves, while Ernest had six stops. ... The teams meet again Aug. 31 at Fike.