SYRACUSE – On a night where it was hot enough to bake a Jack’s pizza on the pavement, Wawasee boys soccer skipper Jordan Sharp urged his team to do just one thing.
“Score the first goal. Just score the first goal,” Sharp repeated as his team took the pitch Tuesday against Huntington North. His team answered, scoring the first three goals of the match in an eventual 4-2 victory.
In a first half that saw Wawasee hold possession for a good bulk of play, the Warriors did not break through until the 27th minute when a buildup on the right side had a pass slotted into the penalty area. After some indecision by the Viking defense, Wawasee’s Gabe Garcia calmly tucked in the loose ball for a 1-0 lead. Five minutes later, Garcia found paydirt again after taking a cross home for a stunning 2-0 advantage.
“As we have been playing, we are a team that has been fighting, but we haven’t gotten that first goal and we get deflated,” began Sharp as the sun set over his victorious team post match. “There have been a couple games that a first goal would have been huge for us to get that momentum on our side and it just wasn’t there. Tonight, we got the first one and clearly the momentum swung to our side.”
The heat wore down the heart of Huntington North, which found itself in more trouble after Fernando Camargo danced through the Viking defense and found a streaking Ricardo Camargo, who didn’t waste the chance. Wawasee were in smooth sailing up three.
After Trey Sorg brought Huntington back to two down following a finish off a corner kick, Wawasee planted the dagger when seldom used freshman Hunter Magiera buried a varsity quality header on the end of a brilliant cross from Kyle Weideman.
“Gabe got forward and ended up being in the right position for those two,” Sharp said. “He is kind of a wild card for us. I never know what he is going to bring. He knows the game well and plays with a lot of class. Tonight he just had the opportunities and he read the plays right. He even told me at halftime he wasn’t happy with the goals because they weren’t ‘sweet’ goals. But that is what he expects from his play.”
Wawasee took nine of its 11 shots on net in the first half, forcing Viking keeper Caleb Stoffel into nine saves. Warrior keeper Korey Knafel looked stout in net, making three saves including a nice dive to his left for a stop in the second half. The Vikings (2-5-1) came into the match fresh off a 14-0 whipping of Columbia City last Saturday.
The roller coaster ride for Wawasee continues this season, winning its third match of the season to level itself at 3-3-1. After a win at South Bend Riley, followed by a loss at Culver Academy and the win Tuesday, Wawasee will look for some consistency dipping into Northern Lakes Conference play at NorthWood Thursday and home with Elkhart Memorial Saturday.
“We have to clean up some of those bad goals we just allow to go in, which would have been the corner kick goal tonight,” Sharp said of his expectations moving forward. “It was a good shot, but we needed to be stronger defensively. It’s a process. And continue with the mindset of the boys to continue to want it. To want to get better. We are getting there, we just have to continue to want to get better.”