PLYMOUTH — It was “Kline time” in prime time Monday night at Kindt Field. Warsaw and Culver Military Academy kicked of the 2016 IHSAA Boys Soccer Sectional Tournament at Plymouth and the Eagles soared to a 2-1 victory thanks to a pair of goals from junior Patrick Kline.
Kline wasted no time getting his team on the board. The junior knocked in the game’s first goal just five minutes into the contest. It was an early momentum shift, but not one that the Eagles were able to use to their advantage. CMA would get another shot on goal before the half, but Warsaw truly held control over game after Kline’s opening goal.
For nearly 20 minutes after falling behind 1-0, Warsaw controlled the tempo on the field. That consistent pressure eventually paid off.
After playing a steady game to that point, CMA keeper Michael Wright made a big mistake. Wright came out to field a ball but whiffed in an attempt to try and clear it back to his team. The free ball rolled inside the 18 where Warsaw’s Eric Ocock was there to knock it into an empty goal. With 17 minutes to play in the first half, the Eagles and Tigers were tied 1-1.
That score would would not change by the break. At the half Warsaw had led CMA 3-2 in shots on goal. Plenty of opportunity, but little reward for the Tigers.
In the second half it was a similar story. CMA had few opportunities, but capitalized when given the chance. Warsaw, meanwhile, had plenty of opportunities but could not find the back of the net.
Kline mad sure to capitalize when give his second opportunity. The junior gave his team the go-ahead goal in the 65th minute. After that, the game grew more physical. The Tigers were running out of time and the Eagles were able to take advantage by engaging in a more chippy style of play.
Despite three corner kicks and multiple opportunities, Warsaw would never get the equalizer it needed. The Tigers played more aggressive and created more chances for themselves, but it was all for not.
“I told the boys that I thought we were the better half,” said Warsaw head coach Frank Courtois. “We controlled the ball better, but we could not finish. When they (CMA) got the opportunity, our defense started backing up and gave them that one shot and that’s what you do, really. They put theirs away, we did not.”
CMA head coach Kevin Green was relieved to see his team escape with the win in what ended up being a very physical contest.
“That was a back and forth game,” stated Green. “Each team was able to create chances. Goalies came up big, defenses came up big. We had the one extra shot that baited the goalie and that made the difference. Other than that, it was a nice little battle going on here.
“Credit Warsaw, they had much better control than us, I thought. They fed their players better, specifically six (Andrew Mevis) and 12 (Ocock). It was just a matter of how the ball bounced tonight. It bounced in our favor.”
The Eagles move on to play Plymouth in the second semifinal Wednesday night. Wawasee and NorthWood will play in the first semifinal at 6 p.m. that evening.
Warsaw will go back to the drawing board this offseason. Courtois loses nine seniors off his roster, but returns a big group of juniors.
“We have to learn from these mistakes, learn from this season an come back and start training,” Courtois said. “All of our returning players, our incoming players, they need to know that we need to learn from this, go to the drawing board and start training. That’s what we’re going to do to get us back on top again.”