HIGHLAND | Coach Pere Dorsuleski wasn't happy with Highland's 1-0 loss to Griffith in the season opener Saturday.
He and a few of his players stayed on the pitch after the match to have a discussion with officials about a Danny Alamillo goal in the 71st minute that was reversed on an offsides call. It could have made the Northwest Crossroads Conference contest a 1-1 tie.
"I think it wasn't offsides," Doruleski said. "(Referees) do their best out here, so I'm not going to take anything away from them but it looked like a clean goal."
The shot in question was a rebound which Alamillo found just a few feet in front of the net on the left side. But Highland did have other opportunities to even the score.
The Trojans (0-1, 0-1) outshot the Panthers 12-4 and had six corner kicks to Griffith's one. Highland also had three free kicks from inside 25 yards in the final 20 minutes but failed to convert any into goals.
Griffith's stifling defense had a lot to do with that. After David Schell tallied the only goal of the match on a penalty kick at 6:25, the Panthers (1-0, 1-0) were able to keep the midfield back and play a more conservative game.
"Our defense was solid. Defense definitely kept us in the game," coach Ron Knestrict said. "It was about 10 players on the field. We pressured the ball pretty good."
Andrew Rothchild seemed to be in the right place at all the right times, making goal-saving tackles and intercepting crucial passes throughout the day.
"I have a lot of confidence in my defense," Rothchild said. "Once we started to work together, we looked like we're going to have a real good team."
Dorsuleski said he felt like his team controlled most of the game.
"We didn't fold, after that P.K. was given to them," Dorsuleski said. "We just didn't get the ball in the back of the net and when we did it got called offsides."
Griffith keeper Matt Potacki had six saves and picked off several crosses to keep the shutout.
"Starting with a win, hopefully that give us some momentum," Knestrict said. "We didn't want to come in with a loss today."