By Keith Knepp
NAPPANEE — The wounded Wawasee Warriors boys soccer team took the bus to Nappanee on Wednesday night to play the NLC match that was postponed from the previous evening. The team may have been better off staying on the bus, as the host team scored early and often, never letting the visitors into the match en route to a 6-1 victory.
Admittedly, Wawasee was playing shorthanded in the match thanks to injuries and illnesses. Many minutes were turned in by reserves and junior varsity fill-ins in an effort to make it through the 80 minutes of game time.
The Panthers first tally came courtesy of freshman sensation Dominic De Freitas who found the net after some fancy footwork to find space. NorthWood would find paydirt two more times in the first half, in the 21st minute by Joel Guzman followed only a minute later by senior Aiden Schrock.
Wawasee was not able to mount a sustained attack on the Panther defense, which led to a 3-0 lead for the home team at the break.
The second half could have been subtitled the “Michael Hahn Show,” as the Panthers’ senior captain notched a hat trick all within 12 minutes of clock time.
Hahn’s first goal came in the 53rd minute via a penalty kick following a Wawasee foul in the goal box. The PK easily sailed past Wawasee keeper Sylvester Trujillo to stretch the NorthWood lead to 4-0.
Number 10 would find glory again four minutes later, and yet again eight minutes after that to complete the trifecta.
The Warriors managed to avoid the shutout and deny Panther keeper Trent Iwema a clean sheet when freshman Dane Sigler beat the NorthWood goalie in the 73rd minute for the match’s last score.
“The Warriors were down many varsity players thanks to injury and sickness who weren’t able to show up at NorthWood,” said Wawasee coach Jordan Sharp. “We had many individuals working hard tonight We need the whole team to be on that page.”
In the junior varsity match, which was reduced to a single half due to a depleted Wawasee roster, NorthWood came out on top 2-0.
Both teams have a short turnaround time thanks to Wednesday’s belated contest. Both teams play non-conference matches on Thursday with Wawasee (3-5, 0-2 NLC) traveling to Lakeland while NorthWood (4-3, 1-2) heads north to take on Elkhart Christian.