Mervin Makundi slid to kick the ball out of the box as the Comets were in a 2-2 tie with Pelican Rapids in the final minute of Tuesdays game. Pelican kept pressure on Makundi all day, and after some strong saves the Hillcrest keeper wasn’t going to let his squad down in the final seconds. Nearly the entire Pelican team was inside the box, keeping pressure on Makundi and looking for a window to kick the final goal and beat a friendly rival. Makundi’s sliding kick left the net open after the ball ping-ponged around before finding a Pelican offender. The game looked to be over.

The Comets found themselves in a 2-2 tie with a very strong Pelican squad after falling behind 2-1 at half. The first Pelican strike happened four minutes into the game when the Comet defenders slid back on defense and watched a laser shot from the top of the box beat Makundi.

The Comets evened the score six minutes later on a perfect corner kick from Markus Fluge, that lofted over defenders. The ball hung in the air only 5 feet from the net where the Pelican keeper stood on the line waiting for a deflection. Iver Honningdal leapt over the heads of defenders and tapped in a header to bring the score to a 1-1 tie ten minutes into the game. The match looked to promise high scoring with two impressive goals in the first ten minutes, but the game proved to be a match of skill and discipline rather than high flying scoring.

Over the proceeding twenty minutes of the contest both squads tightened their defense. The Comets moved players into better positions and Pelican used superb talent to keep defenders at bay. Nine minutes before the half the Comet defenders miscommunicated in the box on a soft rolling shot that looked more like an errant pass from Pelican. Makundi approached the ball and a Comet defender chased after it. When the two met neither of them stopped the ball, respecting the intentions of the other. The ball rolled past Makundi at the top of the goalie box and sailed into the net. A defeated looked raced across the Comet defense. They exercised resolved discipline in stopping a faster and more talented Pelican rapids front line to give up a goal on a miscommunication. The goal would carry Pelican’s spirits into the half, with Pelican up 2-1. It would be the last goal Makundi would give up on the day.

The two squads emerged from halftime and engaged each other the way they left at half. Strong passing met players in good positions. Good ball movement was interrupted by aggressive defense. The ball changed sides in routine, with few shots on net. Pelican took shots at the top of the box with Hillcrest defenders crowding in. The Comets worked the ball expertly down the sidelines to play a cross, only to be met by Pelican’s size and expert ball handling with a simple clear to put the Comets on defense again.

With twenty-nine minutes left in the game Nick Foss worked the defense on the far sideline to earn a corner kick. Some discussion on the field earned a Pelican defender a yellow card, giving Hillcrest nearly a minute to setup their corner kick. The kick darted waist high into the box where Eirik Primavera one-timed a shot to the goal. A Pelican defender appeared to stop the ball with his chest, but a handball was called inside the box. Primavera lined up his free kick, approached the ball, and sent a perfectly placed rolling shot off the inside of the right post. The goal equalized the score in a dramatic fashion, and set the stage for the final minute of play where Hillcrest would find another goal with even more drama.

With a minute and ten seconds left on the clock Pelican setup for what looked like a final corner kick. Hillcrest’s defenders prepared, hands on knees after a grueling contest keeping up with the Pelican offense. Pelican lofted the shot over a Comet defender standing fifteen feet from the corner. The shot found a Pelican player ten feet inside the box who headed the pass into a hoard of red and white jerseys. Makundi sprinted to the pile, sliding to kick the ball out of the box. A Pelican defender received the ball off Makundi’s deflection and sent a shot toward the goal. Comet Senior Camden Hoganson one-timed the shot back into the pile, where a deflection had the ball waft into Makundi’s hands who quickly took control of the attack and sent the ball down the sidelines. Hillcrest pushed the ball into the middle, where Pelican’s defender left his post in pursuit. Senior Trevor Antuna found the ball off a deflection six feet outside the top of the box. With three Pelican defenders sprinting back to the box, and one chasing down Antuna, Trevor placed a bending shot over the top of the Pelican defenders, landing int he back of the net with thirty-six seconds remaining on the clock. The goal earning Hillcrest the victory in dramatic fashion.

The Comets improved to 5-3 on the season in handing Pelican only their second loss of the year. Hillcrest travels to Little Falls on Saturday for a double header with the Lady Comets.

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