Hicksville senior forward Kyle Poetzsch is a marked man. As the offensive leader of the defending state champions, defenses key on him every game.
Trailing 1-0 to Syosset eight minutes into the second half, the Comets looked to Poetzsch to do what he does best. He was able to break away from two defenders and put the ball past the goalie for his ninth goal of the season. The game ended in a 1-1 tie Monday in Conference AA-I.
Syosset (4-1-1, 4-0-1) came out strongly in the first half, dominating possession. Scott DeBenedittis scored with 20 minutes left off an assist from Alec Matalon. Syosset had more chances to extend the lead, but Hicksville goalkeeper Brian McPartland made some key saves.
"We put one in early but we missed a couple opportunities to score, and that kept them in the game," Syosset coach Brett Waxer said. "It's unfortunate that it had to end in a tie, but we played really well."
Hicksville (5-0-1, 4-0-1) made adjustments at halftime, and it showed. The Comets got more shot opportunities early on, and then Chris McMullan found Poetzsch down the middle of the field for the tying goal.
"They were in complete control for most of the first half and we were not firing on any cylinders," Hicksville coach Scott Starkey said. "We changed the lineup a little bit in the second half and the momentum shifted."
But the Braves refused to let up. Within the last 15 minutes of the game, senior forward Shane Mandel was able to break away and get more shot attempts, but they were just a bit off the mark.
"We should've put them out early," Mandel said. "We had our opportunities but we couldn't capitalize."
Despite the tie, both teams came away with more confidence going forward.
"This was a good test for us," Waxer said. "It'll be something for us to build upon as we go into our next game.
Said Starkey: "I'm happier with this tie than I am with some of our wins. To come out to Syosset on their home field and come from behind and grind out a tie, I'm pretty pleased with it."