AURORA — Twice, Taylor Burick took outstanding feeds for Greenmen goals.
Twice, with the Rough Riders facing one-goal deficits in the second half, Carlye Neaffer notched equalizers.
Thrice, each team scored — with Suburban American rivals Aurora and Roosevelt knotted at three after 80 minutes at muggy Veterans Stadium Tuesday.
For the defending Suburban American champion Rough Riders (1-2-2, 0-1-1), in their first conference game since an 8-1 setback against Highland, Tuesday was a big step. Even with Aurora dominating possession early and taking a pair of one-goal leads late, Roosevelt never folded.
"Once I saw how fast and how well Aurora was closing us down in the first half, I fully expected that this was going to be a loss, by probably three or four goals, based on the previous two games that we played," Roosevelt coach Jerry Shutway said. "To come back 3-3, this is a huge character builder."
For the host Greenmen (0-2-1, 0-0-1), Tuesday was encouraging in their possession — and familiar in that they controlled possession but couldn’t quite pull out the win. Aurora was customarily brilliant in the middle third — but is still a work in progress in the attacking third, per Wilson.
"That’s been the story the two seasons that I’ve been here," Aurora coach Bo Wilson said. "We get up to that point and look real nice and then we’ll hit a hurried ball that’s just out of reach."
That said, Tuesday marked a step — with plenty of steps to go.
"We just haven’t found ourselves yet as far as who we are," Wilson said. "We have pretty high expectations this year.
"We hadn’t scored against Chagrin. We didn’t score against Twinsburg. It’s a lot to build on. They’re not real happy, but 3-3 tie, I was just happy we scored some goals."
The Greenmen came out dominating play, but the Rough Riders capitalized on their first shot, in the 13th minute, as sophomore Maggie Oldham, from the outside corner of the box, sent a perfectly placed line drive over the keeper for a 1-0 lead.
Just like that, after Aurora created nearly all of Tuesday’s early opportunities, Roosevelt held the lead — maintaining it into halftime.
Ten minutes into the second half, the Greenmen’s nifty play in the midfield paid off with senior Nicole Doemling slotting a pass to Burick on the left side of the box, with Burick, from a tough angle, hitting the upper right corner of the net for the equalizer.
Six minutes later, Aurora sophomore Emma Krondorfer, taking a free kick from just outside the box, blasted a shot into the thin space between the leaping keeper and the bar.
"She’s a sophomore," Wilson said. "She’s a very, very talented player. She’s a really good right back, too, but we’re trying to push her up the field because she sees the field really well."
But Roosevelt’s Neaffer answered by putting in a cross for the 64th-minute equalizer.
"I give it up to them, their two crosses were gorgeous," Wilson said. "You just tip your hat to them.
"(Kassidy) can really cross the ball. Those weren’t slow-played balls. They were cracked."
With 6:47 to go, Aurora had its finest moment, with sophomore Carlie Filkouski sending a perfect pass skidding 20 to 30 yards up the slick Veterans Stadium turf. Burick got a perfect first touch, and with no time to hesitate with a defender sprinting in, fired a left-footed shot just inside the post past the approaching keeper.
"She can score," Wilson said. "It’s been trying to find her, trying to find outlets."
Again, the Rough Riders responded.
Sophomore Kassidy Fischer worked her way into the box, and when the ball was ripped away, Oldham lunged to block the clear, then turned and sent a cross to Neaffer, who suavely one-timed it home.
"Obviously Maggie was hungry," Shutway said. "She has the fighting spirit. I think what really made this all come together was that there were three or four of our players that were getting in there with Maggie."