LIGONIER – Defense, defense and more defense.
The Wawasee boys soccer team needed every bit of effort on defense that it could exert for its game against West Noble and the Warriors did not disappoint. Wawasee rode out the advantage of a goal by Alex Doll to capture its first win over West Noble since 2009, downing the Chargers 1-0 on Thursday night.
“I’m pumped about the guy’s performance today,” said Wawasee head coach Jordan Sharp. “I think their maturity today really showed. We have three games this week, its been a hot week, this field plays differently than what we are used to so I was kind of nervous, to be honest, about this game.
“We were able to pressure West Noble and capitalize on that pressure by getting a goal early on and then we didn’t give anything up. I just enjoyed watching our commitment defensively tonight.”
The defense was stellar for the Warriors all night long. When being pressed by West Noble, Wawasee really seemed to play loose and energetic for the majority of the game, which was probably due, in part, to getting the lead early.
That lead came from Alex Doll midway through the first half as he went up and over West Noble keeper Jouany Reyes to put Wawasee up 1-0. Doll was assisted on the play by Luis Camargo.
Besides trying to get insurance, the goal now was for the Warriors to keep West Noble off the board. Hustle plays from everybody across the board kept West Noble from getting too many opportunities to equalize.
Maturity, as Sharp mentioned, was huge as well. The back line did its job and whenever things got tight, Wawasee stayed calm and continued to keep West Noble off the board.[*** ERROR: Weaver X-Plus Shortcoder undefined id: 'spo-photo' *** ]
Solid play in goal, yet again, by Korey Knafel was a huge boost for Sharp’s squad. Thursday’s win was Knafel’s second straight shutout of the season. Reserve keeper Caleb Glon even saw the field for a very brief time after Knafel left for an injury. Glon put in just over a minute of work before Knafel returned. Glon laughed as he returned to the sideline to a chorus of cheers from his teammates following his efforts.
The Warriors really controlled the tempo for the overwhelming majority of the game and when it mattered most, Wawasee stayed true to form defensively. West Noble kept the ball on Wawasee’s half of the field for seemingly the final 10 minutes of the contest in its entirety. Despite the efforts of the Chargers, the Warriors continued to make the plays they needed in order to escape.
From here on out, it’s all about improving for the Warriors, according to their coach.
“We still have a lot to work on,” Sharp began. “We keep learning new things. Tonight we went in to half up 1-0 on a good team and we kept that lead all the way through the second half. We learned, as a team, how to manage that situation today. Again, today was all about composure and maturity for our guys.”
Wawasee (2-1-1) will host South Bend Riley this Saturday at 11:30 a.m.
In the junior varsity contest West Noble used two goals in the second half to capture a 2-0 win over the Warriors JV squad. Jonny Bonilla and Enrigue Sosa were credited with goals for the Chargers.