SOUTH WHITLEY — It may not have been the prettiest win, but the Wawasee girls soccer team will take it regardless. Wednesday night the Warriors traveled to take on Whitko. The Wildcats entered on a two-game losing streak while Wawasee was looking to shake a three-game skid. The Warriors prevailed, winning 3-0.
The first half was full of plenty of opportunities for both teams, but it was also loaded down with some sloppy play. Wawasee struggled to find open looks despite playing virtually the entire half on Whitko’s side of the field. The Wildcats, meanwhile, produced three shots on goal but were unable to slip one by Wawasee keeper Kayla White.
As good as White was for the Warriors, Stephani Baughman was just as stellar for Whitko in the first 40 minutes. Baughman made several athletic stops to keep Wawasee from getting an edge, but even Baughman had her limits.
Leigh-Ann Shrack finally cracked the code in the second half. Shrack found an opening on the left side of the goal, upper 90, and broke the scoreless tie with 35:46 to play. Shrack, who had been close to scoring all night, like breaking through so much that she knocked another goal in with 21:32 to play. The Warriors were finally taking control.
The majority of the second, like the first, was played on Whitko’s side of the field. The pressure from Wawasee kept Baughman and Whitko’s defense busy. Sara Pritchard added the visitor’s final goal with just 51 seconds to play.
The performance from Wawasee in the second half compared to the first was like night and day.
“What changed was that, in the first half, we didn’t control the ball well at all,” began Wawasee coach Doug Heinisch. “We just kind of kicked the ball randomly. We were down at Whitko’s end, but we weren’t passing well and we took a lot of ill-advised shots. Instead of getting good shots in the box and making connections, we just took a lot of 20-yard shots and they were just sort of dribbling in. The ball was where we wanted it, we just needed to up our game and we did that in the second half.
“That second half turn around was about better passing. We connected. We had better control and focus.”
Whitko coach Gary Sims was not reached for comment.
Wawasee moves to 5-2 on the season and will host Culver Academy this Saturday. Whitko falls to 2-6 and travels to Woodlan on Saturday.