By Paul Hines
MT. VERNON — The Rams soccer team outshot Harrisburg on Saturday but couldn’t pull off a victory.
Mt. Vernon was forced to settle for a 1-1 tie despite finishing with 17 shots to the Bulldogs nine.
“Harrisburg and Mt. Vernon we go way back,” Mt. Vernon coach Jim Duncan said. “Not just high school ball, but when I was coaching Rend Lake I had several Harrisburg boys on the team.
“They come prepared every time.”
The Rams generated pressure early on goal against the Bulldogs defense and struck first. Josh Cortez and Dalton McGowen combined on a build-up play that helped Mac Jones find the back of the net for the opener. The goal came about 12 minutes into the game.
“We have some pretty sure-footed fellows if we can get it in the box,” Duncan said.
It appeared Harrisburg would even the game about 10 minutes later. The Bulldogs knocked the ball into the penalty area, and Crayton Turner was called for a hand ball. Carver Gregg took the penalty kick with Mt. Vernon’s J.J. Wiegel waiting in the goal mouth. Gregg ripped his shot, but Wiegel smothered it and didn’t allow a rebound. Wiegel finished the game with six saves.
“That was awesome,” Duncan said. “Man, he is big. He’s getting bigger every game. He really is.”
The play preserved the Rams lead, but Gregg struck midway through the second half. With 23:01 remaining in the game, he hammered a shot past Wiegel into the side netting to even the score at 1-1.
Three yellow cards were handed out in the game with Mt. Vernon’s Joseph McDanel being booked midway through the first half for a foul.
Mt. Vernon is 8-4-1 this season.