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FHSU plays to Draw

Published on -10/8/2012, 10:25 AM

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In soccer, there are good and bad draws.

For Fort Hays State University on Sunday, head men's soccer coach Brett Parker said his team's 2-2 tie against No. 11 West Texas A&M University (8-1-2) at FHSU Soccer Stadium was a good draw.

"This is a good result," Parker said. "We'll take it. We would have liked to have gotten a goal in overtime and gotten all three points, but we'll take a tie."

No. 18 FHSU (8-3-1) fell behind 2-0 halfway through the second half after West Texas A&M's Dominic Furness scored twice -- once in the 46th minute and the second in the 62nd minute. The Tigers needed a heroic performance in order to penetrate West Texas A&M's enveloping defensive back line that has cast four shutouts this season.

FHSU got that performance from its sophomore All-American Diego Cabral. The Paraguayan midfielder delivered two goals to tie the match.

Cabral scored on a penalty kick in the 80th minute, following a foul on freshman forward Austin Clifton inside the penalty box.

The goal ended a six-match cold streak for Cabral.

"He was an all-American last year, and when you have that title and tag on you, sometimes you try to press a little bit and try to create too much," Parker said. "When he lets the game come to him naturally, plays simple and uses his teammates, he is more effective."

Cabral started the season scoring four goals in five matches but struggled to find opportunities recently until Sunday's match.

"It gladly came today," Cabral said. "In soccer, everything can happen. (Cold streaks) sometimes happens to even the best players. ... I hope now is the beginning of another (good) stretch."

Cabral added the tying goal in the 87th minute. Sophomore midfielder Tanner Brock sent in a cross on a free kick from 45 yards out, and the 5-foot-8 Cabral snuck behind the defense and headed it into the goal.

"The ball that Tanner played me was really good," Cabral said. "I just had to put the head there. ... All I was thinking was 'Please go in, please go in,' and it went in."

The Tigers had an opportunity to win it in overtime but failed to create scoring opportunities --  even in the second overtime when a second yellow card for West Texas A&M's Abel Olivas reduced the team to 10 players.

The Buffs out shot FHSU 25 to 11 in the match, but FHSU sophomore goalkeeper Kent Freund had a solid day, producing 14 saves to keep the match close.

The draw ended a six-match home stretch in which the Tigers played three ranked opponents. FHSU finished the stretch 3-2-1, losing two of its past four matches.

The recent results likely will drop FHSU out of the national rankings -- a place FHSU has been since Sept. 4.

"It wasn't one of our team goals, but it's just nice to get the recognition and it's nice for the program to be there," Parker said. "But it probably will (knock FHSU out of the rankings). A win today might still have knocked us out.

"We probably at this point don't deserve it," Parker added. "We have to earn it a little bit more and get a couple more good wins and maybe we can get back in there."

The Tigers now must go on the road for their next four matches before returning home for their regular season finale. All five of their next opponents are MIAA opponents.

"The calendar is really hard from the middle to the end," Cabral said. "We've just got to think forward and not think about what we did or how we lost. We have five tough games that can put us in the NCAA tournament."

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