A questionable penalty kick in the first 10 minutes and a very hectic series of plays right before the half afforded two goals for the Raiders en route to a 5-0 win over Wawasee.
The eighth minute began the confusion. As Northridge moved the ball around the perimeter of the Wawasee penalty area, Northridge possessed the ball moving toward the middle of the 18. As Wawasee closed in, a Northridge attacker found the turf, but advantage was called as Northridge kept possession.
Once the Raiders sent its shot out of bounds, they were given a penalty kick because of the initial trip. Joseph Ganyard converted the penalty kick.
An evenly played remainder of the half had the strangest moment occur two minutes before time, when Northridge again were moving around Wawasee’s penalty perimeter. A shot by Ganyard was blocked by Wawasee keeper Josh Secor, but the ensuing rebound had a Wawasee player take a fall in the scrum.As several players stopped at what they thought was a whistle, Ganyard shot the ball past a diving Secor. The ball, however, skipped through a hole in the side netting, which resulted in several minutes of conferring before a goal was awarded.
“We’ve struggled to maintain the pace we set tonight,” Northridge head coach Todd Woodworth said. “Not finishing very well. We get one early, then at the end of the half, but we had a lot of time in between where we left goals on the field. I thought there was a period of time where Wawasee generated some good possession and forced us to have to defend more.”
The Raiders didn’t waste time in the second half separating as Ganyard netted his third goal in the 42nd minute. Josh Kenny then struck a brilliant ball from the left corner of the 18 that Secor couldn’t handle in the 60th minute. All of a sudden, a tenuous 2-0 lead had quickly bulged to 4-0.
“We’ve taken ourselves out of some opportunities, which has killed us,” Wawasee head coach Tom Taylor said. “I think Northridge really took us out of our element. But to be honest, I was more frustrated by some of the calls that went against us. That seemed to really change the pace, and took us out of our element.”
Northridge put the bow on its eighth win of the season in the 79th minute when Ben Savage tucked home a breakaway goal.
The Raiders would fire 10 shots on Secor, with the senior keeper making four saves and needing Jake Harris to save another off the line after a redirection. In classic Northridge style, Wawasee could not generate any movement in the Raider defensive third, limited to just one Jordan Acton shot in the first half.The Jeckyl and Hyde Raiders (8-6-2), which had won just once since Sept. 8, used superior ball movement in the second half to keep Wawasee from developing momentum it had began to build in the first half. Connor Hahn was the beneficiary, playing a smooth goalkeeper to record the clean slate.
“I feel good where we are at going into the postseason, and our game Thursday night with Warsaw will be a good meter of where we will be,” Woodworth said, whose club with a win could hand Warsaw its only loss of the Northern Lakes Conference season. “It should be a tournament-like atmosphere. And that will only help us for the sectional next week.”
Taylor had hoped a quality showing against a perennial contender in Northridge would afford his team some cohesion as the IHSAA state tournament sectional brackets were released Tuesday morning. The Warriors (2-11-2 overall) have possibly the toughest assignment in northern Indiana, having to take on No. 3 Warsaw at the Plymouth Sectional next Thursday.
A 5-0 result at Warsaw last Saturday had a silver lining as Wawasee held the Tigers to just one goal in the second half, which Wawasee has struggled to hold opponents at bay, including the collapse Tuesday against the Raiders.
“We shut down Warsaw in the second half because we played our style, not having to chase them around,” Taylor said of Saturday’s match in light of what it will take to pull off the upset of the tournament. “I saw where they wanted to move the ball, where they were quickest, and what we need to do to cover their speed.
“Whether we win the game or not, if we can cut the scoring gap and give ourselves a chance, that is a win in my book. We are hoping to get a goal up on them and force them into a pickle. They are very, very good. It is going to be a tough assignment for us. But we do have a chance.”
In the JV game, halves were shortened to 20 minutes each to utilize light, and Northridge made the most of the 40 minutes by posting a 7-1 win. Carlos Camargo had the lone goal for Wawasee.
Wawasee will take its final swing of the regular season Thursday when it travels to Plymouth.