SYRACUSE – On paper, the boys soccer pairing between Wawasee and West Noble Thursday night looked to be a mismatch. On the pitch, West Noble proved every bit worthy of its No. 5 state ranking with a 6-0 romp of the host Warriors.
An even first ten minutes of the match had Wawasee actually lead in opportunities, taking a pair of corners. But a disastrous 11th minute began the undoing, first with a yellow card on a hard challenge by Michael Pena. Seconds later, Uriel Macias showed why he is one of the premier forwards in the area, taking a touch in the 18-yard box and beating goalkeeper Korey Knafel short side for a 1-0 lead.
Not more than 45 seconds later, Abel Zamarripa found himself in space deep in the Wawasee defense. Two touches on the ball and a swing of the right leg put the Chargers up 2-0.
“It was pretty disappointing when you get two knocked down on you that quick,” said Wawasee head coach Jordan Sharp. “We just told the team that if we could have gotten a first goal on them, this would have been a very different match. There were times in the game when we were putting it together, looking dangerous in their end. We just need to figure out how to finish in that final third.”
Macias wasn’t done, scoring his second goal in the 20th minute on beautiful touch on the ball to get around Knafel for the tuck. His hat trick was complete two minutes before half when freshman Uriel A. Macias found his elder namesake down an exposed right side of the Wawasee defense for a hammer.
“We are still trying to get our defense figured out and we just didn’t get it done against (Macias and Zamarripa),” Sharp said. “They really brought it. Give them credit for making us look bad at times back there.”
West Noble also had second half goals from Zamarripa and Chris Najera. The Chargers would put 12 shots on goal, forcing Knafel into two saves and backup keeper Caleb Glon to make three saves.
Wawasee would not go without a fight. Two balls Wawasee thought had reached the back of the net were disallowed when an indirect kick by Rasmus Rich sailed into goal without touch in the first half and a tuck away from Ricky Camargo late in the match was ruled offsides.
Rich had five of Wawasee’s 10 shots, four of which required a save from West Noble keeper Jonathan Moreno. The best of the efforts forced Moreno into a diving save on a free kick. Moreno also stuffed a chance by Carter Jones point blank in the six-yard box to keep his shutout alive.
The result, which had its teaching points for Sharp, exemplified the roller coaster start to his side’s open to the campaign.
“We are focusing on the positives, especially when we are going up and down,” Sharp stated, whose club gave up 10 goals to Concord Saturday, then scored 10 on Hamilton Monday before Thursday’s lopsided loss. “We have to look at what’s good, and get rid of what’s bad. Then maintain stability or else it will be too chaotic. Keep teaching the positions, how the central midfield works and where they should be. So we can get some of that stability and not always go way up or down.”
The West Noble junior varsity outshot Wawasee 11-4 and made three of its shots count in a 3-0 victory.
Wawasee will hit the road Saturday morning for a date with South Bend Riley. The game, a 10 a.m. JV kick with the varsity to follow, will be played at Jackson Field in South Bend. The field is located just south of the US 20 bypass on Jackson Rd.