Thao, Rangers Settle For Tie

Commendable heroics from senior forward Johnson Thao aren’t enough as Parkside witnesses a potential victory slip away late.

Featuring their second Great Lakes Valley Conference match-up of the weekend, UW-Parkside (9-2-2) (5-2-2) men’s soccer squad hosted Saint Josephs College (5-4-2) (3-3-2) on a brisk Sunday afternoon at Wood Road Field in Kenosha.

Despite domination in almost every facet of the game, the Rangers would fail to be triumphant on the scoreboard settling for a 1-1 tie in their double overtime thriller.

“It’s a matter of us failing to put the ball in the back of the net,” said Kilps. “Even though we controlled the match, we paid for our misdeeds.”

The Rangers are currently ranked No. 23 in the nation among Division II collegiate programs by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA).

Showcasing a slew of fast paced possessions, Parkside would use this to manufacture several first half scoring opportunities.

At 14:47, a slick setup by midfielders Jon Bebeau and Niklas Boedts would provide Thao with his seventh goal of the season. Smashing the low screamer into the left corner beyond the outstretched arms of Saint Josephs’ net-minder Sam Lopez, the Rangers would take refuge in a 1-0 lead.

Successfully dictating time of ball possession, UWP would enter the second half with a substantial 6-2 advantage in attempted shots.

Enjoying only minimal scoring chances, the Pumas’ senior forward Greg Gehrig would epitomize a dismal afternoon by deflecting an errant shot high off the cross bar. On the home side, Parkside’s sophomore Spencer Bursten’s beautiful header would shoot just wide of the net.

Highlighting superb defense by the Rangers, a key moment would exemplify this late in regulation. With just over ten minutes remaining, junior Jason Moxley would clear out a potential goal preserving Parkside’s shut-out.

30 seconds later, however, UWP wouldn’t be so fortunate.

Taking advantage of a lose ball, Saint Josephs’ senior midfielder Chad Stuecher would deliver a point-blank goal top-shelf to notch the score up at 1-1.

Johnson and the Rangers would fail to avoid overtime as the forward’s corner blast would ricochet off a crowd of defenders and slide just inches over the post. Illustrating the type of defense referee’s might classify as physical defense, a possible game-ending sequence would instead result in a take-down of Johnson and a non-call.

“They got me pretty good, but it shouldn’t have come down to that,” said Johnson. “As a team we need to step up our game so we don’t have to rely on getting calls.”

Towards the latter stages of the first overtime, Parkside would squander yet another possibility of breaking through in crunch time. Bursten’s crafty back tap to defense-man Tim Thao would culminate in an attempt wide left.

Reverting back to a solid defense anchored by juniors Matt Gloshen and Dave Mercer, the Rangers would limit keeper Jamie Lieberman’s activity to just two saves in 110 minutes of action. Ultimately, the Rangers would be unable to capitalize offensively and would close the weekend home-stand on a 1-0-1 clip.

UWP has a trio of of players with exception point totals for the year. Boedts leads the pack with 23, followed by junior Jon Bebeau with 19, and Thao with 18.

Set for a lengthy road trip, Parkside will engage in three out of their four matches as GLVC games. Their lone non-conference bout will be played at Harris Stowe State University October 7th at 2:30.

According to Kilps, “Simply put, we need to take it one game at a time and produce in the category that determines the outcome.”

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