By Nick Goralczyk
FORT WAYNE – The Warsaw girls soccer team punched its ticket to the Homestead Girls Soccer Sectional championship game. The Lady Tigers teed off on Fort Wayne Wayne at Teagarden Field for a 4-1 win Thursday evening.
“We wanted to get everyone on the field and everyone moving the ball at pace and I think we did a good job of that tonight,” explained Warsaw head coach Jon Hoover. “We started a little slow and gave away the ball a few times. But we got into a good groove and kept possession a lot, which was the plan for tonight.”
Once the Tigers found their footing they were clearly the better team on the pitch. A slow first few minutes eventually gave way to a goal for Warsaw’s Corissa Koontz (8’). The junior showed off the power in her leg with a long shot that found the top right corner of the goal, comfortably clearing a leaping Wayne keeper, Isabella Nichols.
The goal was the first of two on the night for Koontz, who was a constant annoyance for the Generals defenders. The play by the junior was exactly what Warsaw needed and will hope to have on Saturday.
“I thought (Koontz) played a great game for us,” Hoover expressed. “She moved the ball well to midfield and scored a couple of times. She’s been one of the big players for us this season, she’s just a great player. She played really well for us tonight.”
Following a goal from Rylee Burns (26’) to put Warsaw up 2-0, Koontz made another big impact by way of a corner kick. Koontz launched a corner from the far side of the field, placing it right in front of the goal where Elizabeth Stone knocked it in (29’) to give Warsaw a 3-0 advantage over the Generals.
The second half saw the Tigers continue to dominate possession. Koontz added her second goal at the 46-minute mark to make it a 4-0 game. Wayne only had three possessions that truly looked threatening after the break, one of which led to the team’s only goal. Wayne’s Gladys Donis netted a penalty kick with 4:48 to play.
The reward for the nice win for Warsaw? A date with sectional host, No. 10 Homestead. The Spartans, the 2018 state runners-up, and Tigers have met twice already this season with Homestead outscoring Warsaw a combined 11-0 in those two contests. The Tigers are hoping that the third time is the charm against the Spartans as well as hoping that much has changed since the last time the two teams met in early September.
“We’ve played Homestead a number of times, it’s going to be physical game just like it always is,” Hoover said of his team’s next opponent. “We’re happy we got through tonight without an injuries so we can go full steam on Saturday
“(Homestead) is a strong team. The game will come down to how we move off the ball and how we can withstand pressure and physicality. We have to keep possession of the ball, hopefully have a few breaks go our way and just withstand the pressure.”
Warsaw moves to 10-5-2 on the season while Wayne exits at 6-4-2. Homestead (15-2) was a 9-0 winner over South Side in the night cap. Saturday’s sectional championship will start at 2 p.m.