Lions, Tigers battle to 2-2 draw

By Garth Shanklin - Sports Editor

Another chapter was written in the books on one of Clermont County’s best soccer rivalries last week.

New Richmond traveled to Bethel-Tate to take on the Tigers on Wednesday, September 12, with neither team pulling out a victory in a 2-2 draw.

The game was scoreless through the first 27 minutes of the first half, thanks in large part to a leaping save by Bethel-Tate’s Sam Frondorf on a New Richmond free kick.

In the 27th minute, Frondorf knocked down another Lion free kick, and scrambled to corral the ball. Before he could, a teammate tried to clear it. Instead, it was hit right to New Richmond’s Sawyer Scheu, who put it in the back of the net for a 1-0 Lion lead.

It was a short-lived lead. The Tigers earned back-to-back corners five minutes later, and the second quarter led to a throw-in that fell to Sean Fallis, who converted to tie the game at one. The game stayed tied into halftime.

New Richmond re-took the lead in the 12th minute of the second half. Jonathan Lang sent in a scorcher from just outside the box that Frondorf couldn’t get a handle on, and it bounced into the goal.

Bethel-Tate answered immediately, on yet another throw-in. The throw bounced around the box before falling to Noah Weis, who put it in the net to tie the game at two.

The game stayed deadlocked until late in the half, where the Tigers had appeared to score the go-ahead goal with roughly 90 seconds remaining. After a foul near midfield, the referee appeared to blow his whistle to stop play. New Richmond stopped, but Bethel-Tate did not, scoring on a breakaway. The referee had waved play on, but after the Tigers scored, he blew the whistle again and called the ball back to the spot. Bethel-Tate head coach Dave Schellenberger said in situations like that, play on is supposed to be the correct call.

“He said he blew the whistle, but we didn’t hear the whistle,” Schellenberger said. “This year, they’re supposed to play on, even if there is a situation. We played on, we scored, but everybody else stopped playing. It is what it is, it’s not a big deal.”

Still, Schellenberger said the game between the two squads was good competition for his team.

“It was a good one,” Schellenberger said. “New Richmond’s always a rival. We know that’s going to be a good game. It doesn’t matter how good or bad we are, everybody steps their game up. It was really good for us. We haven’t quite been challenged like that this year.”

Schellenberger added he felt the Tigers didn’t quite play they way they usually do, but he hopes the competition will only make the squad better.

“I thought we were a little scared, a little antsy,” Schellenberger said. “I don’t think we played the game we’re used to. We panicked a bit, but we needed that competition to wake up a bit.”

As was the case with many fields in the Clermont County area last week, the conditions at Tiger Stadium were less than ideal.

“The field conditions are really hard with all the rain we’ve had,” Schellenberger said. “This is the greenest August we’ve had in 10 years, I think. This field is being played on a lot now. We’ll probably have six, seven games on the field before Friday’s football game, it’s taking a beating.”

New Richmond head coach Doug Flamm said neither team could really do what they wanted due to the condition of the field.

”The field conditions made it difficult,” Flamm said. “Both teams had a difficult time getting the ball under control and playing their style of play.”

Flamm added he knew the Tigers would play an aggressive style, and that his squad had to keep momentum from shifting toward Bethel-Tate.

“They played aggressive,” Flamm said. “We knew they were going to play aggressive, play fast. Sometimes we start slowly and it takes a while for us to get into the groove of the game. For us, it’s about maintaining our shape, keeping our balance and staying in place. When we start losing our balance, the other team starts to take advantage and there’s a momentum shift.”

Both of Bethel-Tate’s goals came on throw-ins, which is something Schellenberger believes his team can use as an offensive threat.

“We definitely have a weapon with John Day and Casey Fisher’s throw ins,” Schellenberger said. “I was hoping we could capitalize a bit better on some other ones, but it’s OK.”

Flamm added that he felt the Lions did a good job avoiding injuries and keeping their emotions in check.

“They kept their composure,” Flamm said. “They battled. They didn’t get hurt. I don’t think that was a pretty game, and I kept saying to the side official that I hoped both teams got out of here with no injuries.”

New Richmond returns to the pitch at home for the second game of a five-game home stretch on Thursday, September 20 against Seven Hills. Bethel-Tate is at Georgetown that same night before returning home to take on Felicity on September 25.

By Garth Shanklin

Sports Editor