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BOYS SOCCER: Brother Rice, Catholic Central play to a tie WITH VIDEO

NOVI — Normally a rivalry doesn’t need fuel to feed the flames.

However, Tuesday’s game between Novi Detroit Catholic Central and Birmingham Brother Rice extended beyond the rivalry and into the Catholic League Central Division race, making the margin of error slim for both schools.

The Shamrocks and Warriors both needed to collect points in a very narrow league race where Brother Rice currently sits in second place behind U-D Jesuit, while Catholic Central sits in fourth.

And both teams played like it as Catholic Central and Brother Rice battled to a 1-1 draw thanks to late goals in the second half.

“At the beginning of the game if you asked me if a I’d be happy with a tie, I might have said yes. But, not when you are leading into the last five (minutes).” Brother Rice head coach Barry Brodsky said.

“It’s disappointing we didn’t come away with a win.”

Rice (4-4-3) took a late lead with 9:52 to play in a scoreless game on a goal scored by senior midfielder Michael Stroud.

Stroud took a lead pass from fellow senior midfielder Hunter Mejaly as he slipped behind the Shamrocks defense. As he controlled the ball, Stroud tucked a chip shot inside the far right post for a 1-0 lead.

At that moment Catholic Central head coach Gene Pulice decided to change his strategy and attack the Warriors defense.

“I wanted to run at them, and take advantage of our opportunities. So we went 2-4-4 and it paid off,” he said.

That sense of urgency morphed into a late goal by junior forward Paul Wiedmaier with 4:24 to play.

After a Catholic Central corner kick, the ball was bobbed and weaved through a scrum of players to right side of Rice’s net. As it squirted out, Wiedmaier tucked a shot inside the post to tie the game at 1-1.

As the defending Catholic League champions, Brother Rice is very familiar with this position.

“Right now, we’re still in good position,” Brodsky said. “You want the target on your back. It’s much more fun when you’re a team everyone is gunning for, but we do need to play better.”

Brother Rice will look to improve in the standings and force another must win situation against U-D Jesuit a week from Tuesday.

“It would have been nice to have a cushion,” Brodsky said. “We’ll get the cubs at home to close out the Catholic League. We’re more than happy to have such a big game against the number one team as the last game of the year.”

As for the Shamrocks (7-2-1), the road is less than certain. According to Pulice, it just comes down to finishing when the ball in the opponents end.

“We need to start putting some games in the win column,” he said.

“We’ve been winning our non-conference games, but our league games are a different story. We are much better than we’re showing. We get ourselves in and around the goal, but we’re not finishing.”

Catholic Central will look to build off its late goal against the Warriors on Wednesday when the Shamrocks face Warren De La Salle on the road in hopes to climb the standings.

Last Updated: 9/24/2013 10:57:57 PM EST

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