It wasn’t the shot he wanted, but after crossing over two DeMatha defenders and getting a clean look on the left side of the goal, Gonzaga’s Nicko Corriveau decided to pull up and shoot from about 25 yards out late on Tuesday afternoon against the Stags. With only 10 minutes left, and the score tied 1-1, he knew it was likely the last offensive opportunity he would have.
Corriveau’s shot ricocheted off the left post, and top-ranked DeMatha (2-0-1) escaped with its three-year unbeaten streak intact with a 1-1 stalemate at Trinity Washington University.
“I’m not content with a tie,” Corriveau said. “I’d like to win. It’s a good result. We’re definitely going to try and keep undefeated.”
DeMatha’s last loss came in November 2009 to Gonzaga, and the Eagles had their chances to do it again in the second half Tuesday. Corriveau tied the game five minutes into the period — receiving a cross from Conor Smith and beating DeMatha goalie Brendan Burke from about five yards out.
Corriveau, who has committed to Virginia, gave the second-ranked Eagles (2-0-1) another opportunity moments later, nailing a cross that bounced off the right post. That was followed by a collision between Gonzaga defender Bruno Scodari and DeMatha star Chris Odoi-Atsem, who went down clutching his stomach and lay on the field for several minutes.
Yes, DeMatha looked like a hunted team against its Washington Catholic Athletic Conference rival, but the Stags were still able to get quality looks at the net. Odoi-Atsem scored from 15 yards out minutes into the game, off an Arion Assue feed. Assue had a few opportunities off crosses in the second half — but the Stags could never completely accomplish ball control and were pushed to the limit defensively against an aggressive Gonzaga offense.
“We expected that,” said DeMatha Coach Dafydd Evans. “We had to patch up things a little bit today and grind it out.”
Evans has a remodeled team, after graduation and club teams claimed 21 players from last season. He designed the play that Odoi-Atsem scored on — and ran through it for 20 minutes at Monday’s practice. He wanted Assue to sit in the hole and have Odoi-Atsem cut backdoor from the flank, and he wanted to run it early in Tuesday’s game. Evans was confident it could succeed. If Gonzaga had scored the first goal, he said, his young team might not have preserved the streak, which reached 48 games with the tie.
“It helped settle our team,”Evans said. “Getting the result against Gonzaga was more important than the streak. But it goes hand-in-hand, obviously. “