PLYMOUTH – The postseason struggles continued Wednesday night for the Wawasee boys soccer team. After defeating NorthWood in the regular season, the Warriors thought they had a favorable draw for the sectional semi-final, the Panthers had a different thought.
NorthWood would use three first-half goals to rout Wawasee 5-1 and advance to Saturday’s title game in the Plymouth Sectional.
Wawasee appeared to have the early momentum as it took an early shot on goal that ricocheted off the far post an right back into the arms of NorthWood keeper Cody Cripe. The shot brought Warrior fans to their feet and the mood was high for Wawasee. But shortly after that attempt the Panthers charged down the field and netted the game’s first score via the foot of Aaron Chenoweth.
Chenoweth’s goal took place in the game’s fourth minute. Riding high from that first score the Panthers found paydirt once more. This time it was Derek Parker that netted the NorthWood score in the seventh minute to make the score 2-0.
Wawasee followed up by showing some life on a corner kick. Kyle Weideman picked up an assist from the corner as he gave a nice pass to Brock O’Haver who found the back of the net for the Warriors. The quick change in momentum was all for not, however.
The Panthers scored once more in the first half (25′) to go up 3-1. After the team’s came out from the break, Wawasee looked more focused and more intense but could never get back into a scoring position.
The Panthers did net two more goals in the second half (69′, 75′) but neither team really ever took control of the game after the break due to a lack of flow in play. Seldom do referee’s interfere with a game in the postseason but Wednesday’s crew seemed to be more about putting on a show than just letting the teams play.
Neither team could find a rhythm or consistency in the second half due to play being stopped so frequently. When all was said and done there were six yellows and one red card tallied between the two squads. The lone red card was given to Wawasee’s Austin Trowbridge after he picked up his second yellow on a questionable call.
Wawasee head coach Jordan Sharp would not comment on the officiating when prompted but the coach did offer thoughts on where his team came up short in Wednesday’s contest.
“We didn’t have the energy that NorthWood did at the beginning,” Sharp said. “We were down a couple of players, we were missing Lucas Garza on our back line and had to make some changes that our guys weren’t used to and that’s a tough way to come out, it’s frustrating. I talked to them at the half and they played much better in that half I thought but it was a little bit too little, too late.”
Sharp later mentioned that this graduating group of seniors never won a sectional game and that one of the goals heading into 2015 will be for his team to get over that sectional hump. Wawasee finishes the season 4-8-5. NorthWood will play Plymouth at 6 p.m. in Saturday’s sectional title.