He also wanted them to have fun in the process.
The Tigers’ coach got his wish on both fronts.
Gabby Monroy blasted home three goals and star Meredith Hollar got back into the swing of things with two scores as the Tigers clipped overmatched Columbia City 7-0 in non-conference play at WCHS.
“It’s all about having fun and getting better and we did that tonight,” Miller told his talented team in his post game talk.
Warsaw had plenty of fun in this one as the Tigers improved to 7-2-2 on the season.
The Tigers, coming off a 1-1 tie at Fort Wayne Northrop Monday, took just 2:01 to set the tone versus the Eagles (who are now 1-10-1). Sophomore Claire Snodgrass scored the first goal of the night in the third minute to make it 1-0.
Warsaw made it 2-0 in the 23rd minute as Hollar blasted a rocket past the City keeper off an assist from sophomore Brooklyn Jackson. The standout senior returned to action Monday for the first time in a game since injuring her knee versus Plymouth on Aug. 21. Hollar, who scored 28 goals as a sophomore, missed her entire junior season in 2011 after suffering a torn ACL and meniscus in a travel soccer game in the offseason. She opened this season by scoring five goals in her first game back against Huntington North.
Monroy, a senior with a rocket for a right foot, got into the act in the 32nd minute. Monroy’s first tally, off an assist from senior Sydney Rose, sent the hosts to intermission up 3-0.
The Tigers made it 4-0 in the 63rd minute when Hollar took a perfect pass from sophomore Danielle Hutcherson in the middle and buried one in the back of the net. Warsaw then finished the night with a three-goal flurry in a span of just 2:17. Monroy connected for a pair of goals in a 1:23 time frame off assists by freshman Elizabeth Van Wormer and Rose. Van Wormer then completed the scoring off an assist from Jackson in the 71st minute.
“It was nice to see us finish the opportunities we created tonight,” said Miller. “We had a couple of goals, including finishing and getting the shutout, and the girls accomplished them. We had a big emphasis tonight on winning the balls out of the air and the girls did a great job with that. That set the tone.
“Sometimes it’s easy to lose the love of the game a little bit with the grind of school, practices and games. It’s nice to have some fun like tonight and score some goals. That helps.”
“Gabby can put a hurt on the ball. She was scoring quite a bit for us with Meredith out and it’s nice to see both of them get multiple goals tonight. I’m hoping that connection between them is back. I think scoring twice tonight will help Meredith’s confidence going forward and drive her even more.”
Hollar, who will play next year at Grace College, missed five games after colliding with the Plymouth goalie. The star forward, who now has 52 career goals, did not start Thursday, but played about 50-55 minutes in the lopsided contest. She is now just nine goals away from tying the school career record of 61 set by Ashley Kitchens.
Warsaw put 13 shots on goal to four for the Eagles. Junior keeper Abby Schue had four saves for the Tigers, with the best being a diving stop with her team up 3-0 with about 27 minutes left in the game. City senior Adrianna Brown had six saves. Warsaw had a 3-0 edge in corner kicks in the win.
The Tigers were without Erica Gauger Thursday night. The senior midfielder was wearing a walking boot on her injured left ankle, which was aggravated in Monday’s game. Miller said that she will return at some point, but he is not sure when right now.
Warsaw played Fort Wayne Carroll to a 0-0 final in a junior varsity game Thursday night.
Warsaw (7-2-2) host Fort Wayne Snider Monday. The JV game is slated to start at 5 p.m. with the varsity at 6:45.