Eagles, Knights Settle For 2-2 Tie

Published 4:14 pm Tuesday, March 26, 2013

BUCKINGHAM – As familiar with one-another as the Prince Edward and Buckingham County High School soccer sides are, and that both are in a rebuilding mode of sorts, it's fitting that Friday's non-district contest ended in a 2-2 tie.

No overtime period was played after 80 minutes of regulation play.

Both teams had several scoring opportunities that either went by the boards due to offensive mistakes, good play by the fullbacks or the strong play of Buckingham goalie Jason Conway or PE's Andrew Stringfellow.

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Prince Edward junior Kyle Burns put the Eagles on the board in the 20th minute. After Conway deflected two shots on goal, Burns collected the ball toward the top of the penalty box and put a pop fly just out of the reach of last year's James River District goalie of the year.

Buckingham tied the contest at one goal apiece mere seconds before intermission on a penalty kick by Peter Stoevesand.

The two teams traded missed chances several times in the second half, and in the 64th and 65th minutes, they traded converted penalty kicks. Buckingham forward Danny Raj put the Knights ahead after getting dragged down by a PE defender in the penalty box, and the Eagles answered shortly thereafter with Burke's second goal of the day on a direct penalty kick.

“I think we definitely played better than we did against them last week,” said PECHS head coach Sebastian Chirila, referring to a 2-1 loss to the Knights in Farmville. “We lost that game in the first half, and though we played better in the second, we weren't able to convert.

“You can't get down to them. They have a very talented keeper that's capable of shutting you down. We corrected a lot of things that we did or didn't do in that first meeting, and though we didn't get the win, we put together a better effort.”

Buckingham didn't seem to be taking the tie as a loss, either.

“It's definitely a teaching year for us,” said BCHS head coach Chuck Meek. “We treat our games with Prince Edward like they're district games, because they are a lot like us, and we can get a good gauge on where we stand going into district play. We had our chances, but we couldn't finish.”

Prince Edward, which returned to the Region I playoffs last year, was hit hard by graduation, and will have one of the youngest varsity rosters in the area, if not the state. The Eagles carry just two seniors and four juniors on a roster that also includes two sophomores and 14 freshmen.

“We did lose a lot of talent from last year's team,” said Chirila, “but this group we have coming up is very talented. They don't have the experience playing on the varsity level, but they do have a lot of experience playing on the JV, middle school and especially on travel teams. We'll have our ups and downs, but hopefully by the end of the year, they'll be mostly ups.”

Buckingham, which is in the same boat, albeit with a smaller roster, hopes the rough spots of having such a young roster will produce different results in May. The Knights battled Goochland closely for the JRD title in 2012, settled for second before being upset by Amelia in penalty kicks in the semifinals of the JRD Tournament. Despite having probably their best team in program history, the Knights did not earn a bid to the Region B Tournament.

“We really don't have a true starting lineup yet,” said Meek. “Between injuries, the weather, and the turnover from last year to this year, we're trying some different things right now. Having Conway back there helps us, but we know we're going to have to get better at converting on our chances if we want to achieve our goals.”