MADISON — Daniel Hand sophomore Scott Testori’s goal in the 75th minute helped the fifth-ranked Tigers to a 2-2 tie against No. 2 Xavier on Tuesday night.
Testori, who scored both Hand goals in the SCC match at the Surf Club, blasted a shot past Xavier goalkeeper Christian Wade from the left side to end the Falcons’ winning streak at 10.
“We had a little lapse in the corner there and the kid buried it,” Xavier coach Brian Fitzgerald said.
Henrique Araujo’s goal in the 73rd minute had given Xavier, ranked second in this week’s Class LL-L poll, a 2-1 lead.
Since losing 1-0 to Xavier in the season’s second week – a defeat that ended the Tigers’ 10-game winning streak dating to last season – No. 5 Hand (7-2-1) hasn’t been beaten in its last seven.
First-year coach Greg Cumpstone seemed pleased that his team overcame “sloppy” first-half play.
“It was not one of our best performances, but it’s a credit to us that we fell behind twice and came back,” he said. “We held it together.”
Hand, which will be gunning for a third straight Class L championship, actually had a shot at the go-ahead goal in the final 95 seconds, but Cole Finke’s chance directly in front of the net was swallowed up by Wade.
Xavier scored in the 26th minute for an early lead. Araujo won a 50-50 ball in his end and passed to Mike Salley, who sent it back to Araujo in the middle. The senior midfielder put a shot to the right of keeper Clayton Knibbs from about 15 yards.
Hand appeared to tie it in the 33rd minute off a corner kick, but the goal was waved off. Testori found the net when he appeared to redirect a cross with his chest, but the referee ruled the ball had come into contact with his arm.
The Tigers’ equalizer, then, came with a minute remaining in the half. With another corner opportunity, Greyson McGeary passed instead of sending it toward the goal. He got the ball back and sent it across to Testori, who snuck it past Wade.
“We got caught watching,” Fitzgerald said. “In this league you have to play for 80 minutes. You can’t take a minute off.”
Xavier had two excellent scoring chances two minutes apart early in the second half, but Knibbs made a kick save and then extended himself to deflect a close strike from Araujo.
Testori again showed that if he goes unmarked as he did in the final minutes, he can make an opponent regret it. He also scored both goals in Hand’s 2-1 win over Guilford last week.
“Scott is a special kid,” Cumpstone said. “Everyone gets caught up in the goals, but it’s the work he does.
He battles to win the second balls, he’s finishing better than he was and his link-up play and his play with his back to the ball are very good.”
Meanwhile, Xavier’s transformation as a 5-9-2 squad in 2017 to one of the best clubs in Class LL this season continues.
“Part of it is last year’s record and this year’s seniors not wanting to go through that again,” Fitzgerald said. “We’ve tightened it up and we’ve got a nice mix of upperclassmen and juniors and sophomores that we are rotating in.
“Henrique carried us tonight in the scoring department, but we’re a team that has a lot of different players who get involved.”
Xavier 2, Daniel Hand 2
Goals: Xavier: Henrique Araujo, 13:56.Daniel Hand: Scott Testori, 39:00. Xavier: Henrique Araujo, 72:46. Daniel Hand: Scott Testori (from Jason Wallack), 75:25.