MISHAWAKA – A pair of high quality boys soccer teams in Warsaw and Penn met up Saturday afternoon at Penn.
The only real winner, unfortunately in the end, was Mother Nature.
The Class 2-A No. 2 Tigers and the Kingsmen ended in a 2-2 tie after the game was called due to threatening weather in the area.
The contest was stopped with 16:35 to play in the final half when lightning was spotted in the distance. After the mandatory 30-minute waiting period, the decision was made to end the contest with more inclement weather close by.
Warsaw sees its season mark now stand at 3-0-2. The Kingsmen are 2-1-2.
The Tigers, who graduated eight seniors from last year’s state runner-up team, are still a work in progress. Warsaw lost its top two goal scorers in Nate Kolbe and Diego Lopez, along with star keeper Michael Yantz.
Veteran Warsaw coach Scott Bauer believes Saturday’s game will be good in the long run for his team.
“Penn is a good program and I like the way we played them today,” Bauer said. “This may be good for us in that we had to tweak our system today and we found something different that works for us.
“So far this year I like what I’ve seen. We have a lot of players contributing and that’s what we need to do. We don’t have a dynamic scorer, someone with a knack for finishing, like we’ve been blessed with for about the past seven years. But, we’ll find our form and individuals will have opportunities and get more confident for us.”
The Tigers, who have been to the Final Four each of the last three seasons, started slow Saturday. Penn took a 1-0 lead with 25:02 left in the opening half as Edson Zamora scored off a penalty kick.
Warsaw got it going in the final 15 minutes of the opening half. The Tigers tied the game at 1-1 as senior Matt Williams blasted a high shot off the keeper’s hands and into the net off a breakaway, assisted by Zach Tucker. Warsaw took a 2-1 lead at intermission as junior Sam Allbritten knocked a ball home with the keeper out on a great hustle play.
“We did come out a little slow,” said Bauer. “But, we found our footing and were the more dominant side. We were able to create more and attack in a variety of ways.”
Penn was able to tally the tying goal just over two minutes before the game was stopped. Zamora scored on a great header off a throw in from Griffin Hoffman.
“We were there on that second goal, but we just got beat,” Bauer said. “It wasn’t for a lack of trying on our part.”
Bauer, whose team has nine seniors (five of whom started on Saturday), praised the play of Stephen Kolbe, Tito Cuellar, Matt Williams and Manuel Rodriguez.
Warsaw was coming off a 3-0 conference win at home Thursday night over Plymouth. Penn capped off a busy week after beating NIC foes Elkhart Central and South Bend Adams on Tuesday and Thursday. The Kingsmen loss was a 2-0 setback to Northridge in the season opener.
Both Warsaw and Penn managed seven shots Saturday. Warsaw junior keeper Peyton Long had five saves. Junior William Dorsch had four saves for the Kingsmen. Penn had a 4-2 advantage in corner kicks.
Penn prevailed in the junior varsity match by a 4-2 final. Pedro Monsivais and Ricardo Ahuatl each had a goal for the Tigers.
Warsaw has a huge Northern Lakes Conference game at undefeated Concord Wednesday. Penn faces NIC rival Mishawaka Marian at Marian on Thursday.