By Logan Brandon • Sports Editor • 

Pirates draw Gervais, prepare for league playoffs

DAYTON – Desperately searching for three points, the Dayton boys’ soccer team had to settle for one tonight at home against Gervais. The Pirates tied the Cougars 1-1, and remain in fourth place in the Class 3A/2A/1A Special District 2.

Dayton now awaits the results of Friday’s Delphian/Blanchet fixture to ascertain its league playoff destination. A draw or a Cavalier win keeps the Pirates in fourth, but if the Dragons prevail, they’ll bump Dayton to fifth.

Both the Pirates and Cougars had motivation to fight for a win tonight, and they two sides engaged in physical play as a result. With hard marking and a number of fouls in the first half, neither squad could breakthrough for an opening tally.

The chippy play eventually resulted in a fracas along the Gervais goal line during the 18th minute. Dayton fullback Treigan Oliveira received a hard shoulder tackle as he chased down a through ball. After no foul was called, both teams and their benches rushed the corner and engaged in a series of shoves and shouts. The Pirates’ Cristhian Garcia and Tanner Lewis received yellow cards for their involvement along with a Gervais player.

Dayton managed one shot on goal in the initial 40 minutes, a skipping drive by Jorge Miramontes in the 8th minute, but Gervais’ keeper handled it easily.

The Pirates goalie, Mike Duarte, faced more pressure. He made three first half saves, including a double stop in the 36th minute to keep the score tied entering the break.

Starting the second half, Dayton desperately searched for an initial goal. A great bout of possession in the 48th didn’t yield a shot, but Gervais’ defense appeared to finally allow some running lanes. Two minutes later, Enrique Rubio outraced a pair of defenders, pounced on a bouncing ball in the box, and fired a low shot past the keeper for a 1-0 Dayton lead.

Unfortunately, the Pirate lead proved a short one. In the 59th minute, a foul at the Dayton 25-yard line handed the visitors a free kick. Kevin Flores steeped in to take, and his shot curved perfectly to nestle into the corner of the goal for an equalizer.

Duarte recorded a pair of saves late in the contest to preserve the tie. The first, in the 69th minute, occurred on a header and the second was a brilliant parry of a lengthy right side blast in the 78th.

Dayton attempted to push forward in the final minutes, but the Cougar defense held firm to end the contest tied at one.