By Keith Knepp
LIGONIER — All the soccer balls can be put away at Wawasee High School on Wednesday morning. Following the boys’ 7-1 sectional loss on Monday evening to end their season, the girls side took to the West Noble pitch for their opening tournament match against a well-rounded DeKalb team.
By coincidence, the Lady Warriors also ended their season by the same 7-1 score, bringing to a close a tough campaign with a final mark of 1-13-2.
For the first five minutes of the match, Wawasee’s defense held its own against the constant pressure of the Barons’ offensive front. The back line finally broke when DeKalb found the net with 35:02 showing on the clock.
The Warriors regrouped and kept DeKalb out of the scoring column for the next 24 minutes as they tried to find the equalizer against the stout defense of the Barons. At the 10:45 mark, DeKalb doubled their score on a shot from distance, which seemed to take all the air out the Wawasee side.
DeKalb would find paydirt two more times before the halftime whistle blew, sending the teams off with a 4-0 lead for the ladies in black.
“We knew that we had the toughest team in the draw,” said Wawasee head coach Luis Camargo. “We came out starting strong. We played a good game the first 20 minutes. Unfortunately after that we started making mistakes that allowed them to score easy goals and that started bringing us down, starting the second half 4-0 when it could have been 1-0.”
Unfortunately for Wawasee, the second half was more of the same, with DeKalb scoring three more times in the first 16 minutes. It appeared that the Warriors might fall victim to the dreaded mercy rule, which would have stopped the game had DeKalb gained a nine goal advantage.
Wawasee hung tough though, keeping the game going for the full 80 minutes. They broke through on the scoreboard with around eight minutes left in the match on a converted penalty kick by senior Nicole Beer.
“Obviously it’s not what we wanted but the girls played tough and they kept it going throughout the whole game and throughout the whole season,” added Camargo. “I’m proud of them. It sucks losing like this to a good team, but we have potential for next year and we have to work on coming back stronger next season.”