Teams differ on defensive battle

Ursuline, Tigers finish in 0-0 tie

Tribune Chronicle / Marc Weems Ursuline’s Mario Ruano and Howland’s Dominic Malvasi battle for possession of the ball during their game Wednesday at Farmer’s National Bank Field on Youngstown State University’s campus.

YOUNGSTOWN — In a hard-fought match that saw both teams get their chances, the Howland Tigers and Ursuline Fighting Irish boys soccer teams ended in a 0-0 tie.

It was a battle of great defenses from the start as both Howland (0-0-1) and Ursuline (0-1-1) weren’t giving up much ground.

For Howland, the tie was a lesson to a young team still trying to figure everything out after just one regular season game.

“Ursuline brought their best game,” Howland coach Brian Stiles said. “We were struggling with finishing, but for the most part, I was pretty happy with the way we played.”

Howland controlled most of the first half down in Ursuline’s end but was unable to score even with very close chances. Howland got 11 shots on goal in the first half compared to Ursuline’s four.

Ursuline senior goalkeeper Bo Gray saved four shots in the half. On the other side, Donato Marsco saved two of Ursuline’s shots.

For the Irish, they were singing a different song than their counterpart.

“We are putting things together,” Ursuline coach Roy Schmidt said. “We have players all here today. We had a good run out and had some fun today. I have no problems with this game at all. They are a quality side and I think we are as well. It just went very, very well tonight. The coaches got to see a lot early in the season and that’s a big deal for all of us.”

On both sides, there were some missed opportunities, but this early in the year, neither coach seemed too concerned about missing them.

“It’s a game where we go back to the practice field,” Stiles said. “It’s the kind of game that happens early in the year where you just aren’t prepared from an attacking perspective. Hats off to Ursuline, they were very prepared defensively. They gave us a very difficult defense to get through.”

In the second half, no team took much control although Howland did come away with some good chances yet again. Ursuline’s Gray finished with nine saves on the game while Howland’s Marsco finished with the two saves he had in the first half.

“You never know how your seasons are going to go,” Schmidt said. “We had a great JV run out. Everything (last night) was 0-0. You want to see goals and you want to see that stop. When you’re a coach, you want to see how the field develops. From the youth to our seniors, it was a good day.”