As a rule, teams do not relish ties. However, that was not the case yesterday at O'Connell as the Knights and Paul VI's soccer teams ended up 1-1 in a nonleague game.

"We haven't beaten them {Paul VI} in a long time," said O'Connell midfielder Randy Hicks, who scored the Knights' goal eight minutes into the game off a direct kick. "So this feels pretty good. It's always a tough game against Paul VI."

"Anytime you play on this field and can come away without a loss, well, that's all right," said Paul VI Coach John O'Connor. The Panthers scored their goal with 10 minutes remaining as midfielder Pat Latessa sent a loose ball from six feet into the upper right-hand corner of the net past a diving John Gillen.

O'Connell (4-6-2), which was shut out earlier in the season by Paul VI, started strongly and, when a Paul VI player was called for a pushing foul, Hicks set up for the direct kick from 20 yards. Seeing that the Panthers had set up their wall to the right, Hicks switched feet, firing with his left foot and sending the ball inside the left post, off the hands of goalie David Manuel.

From that point, neither team dominated. Paul VI (6-0-2), using substitute fullbacks Mike Eubanks, Mike Ferrier and Sean Ratliff because of injuries, was able to rebuff the Knights' forwards. And O'Connell, led by Hicks and halfbacks Michael Sirotniak and Tom Webber, contained Latessa and forward Tim Ittner until the final minutes.

But with time running out, Latessa gathered in a long throw-in from Ratliff and was able to dig the ball out of a crowd for the tie. Three of Latessa's four goals this season have come off Ratliff throw-ins.

"Both sides were bunching, so we tried to overload them," said Latessa. "But they were really hustling to the ball. Both teams just played really well."