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Wakefield soccer ties with Millbrook

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RALEIGH - Two evenly matched girls soccer teams ended the night with a 1-1 tie after the match at Wakefield against Millbrook Monday.

It was the season opener for the Wolverines and Tommy Retzlaff's first game as head coach. He started his Wakefield coaching tenure with a tie on his record. Retzlaff remained positive after the outcome.

"After going down by a goal, we were pleased to battle back and work hard," Retzlaff said. "We pushed Millbrook back at the end. I wish we could have gotten the result, but I think it's a good result considering the circumstances."

Both teams showed first game jitters, as neither squad could get the ball moving down the field. Passes were not connecting and shots were missing wide.

Then with 3:25 left in the first half, Millbrook scored the first goal of the night by kicking it in. Wakefield went into halftime down 1-0.

It was a battle back and forth, as Millbrook held off Wakefield for as long as they could. Then finally, Wakefield's Corbin Reifschneider was fouled on a play about 30 yards away from the goal. 

Makaela Stokes lined up to take the free kick for the Wolverines. The senior defender smashed the ball on a solid line drive that went into the back of the net. That tied the match at 1-1 with 18:16 left in the game.

After that, both teams struggled to get another goal. Since it was a non-conference match, the game ended in a tie without overtime. 

Retzlaff said the lack of goals came from his players getting too excited to score in the first game of the season.

"There's just too much excitement on the offensive end," Retzlaff said. "The girls aren't as direct with their passes as they want to be right now. In time, those connections will come. We're also trying a different formation this year."

Last year, Wakefield finished the season 14-5 overall and 8-2 in NAC 6 conference play. Their two conference losses came against the defending 4A state champions Heritage. 

This year, under a new head coach, the Wolverines will try to battle for a conference title. Retzlaff said he believes in the potential of his team to accomplish that feat.

"As we start to figure ourselves out and figure out where people will contribute the best, we'll get better," Retzlaff said. "I'm confident in this group of girls."

Wakefield will play at Cardinal Gibbons Friday March 6 at 6:30 p.m.