In what could have ended up being a tie game by way of a Swanton goal getting disallowed on a controversial offsides call in the first half, Wauseon broke the scoreless tie with just over 25 minutes remaining and went on to win by that same 1-0 margin on Thursday in a Northwest Ohio Athletic League girls soccer game at Wauseon.
It was a gratifying win for the Indians, more so after suffering a loss by that same score in their last game versus Evergreen on Sept. 21.
“Anytime you can win in this league it’s a good win,” said Wauseon Coach Brandon Schroeder. “We play a lot of good soccer up here with some great coaches and players. So, however they come we’ll take them. We took a minute to get back up to game speed. Our last action was nine days ago, so as much as you simulate things in practice, until you really get on the field against another varsity squad — and a very athletic varsity squad in Swanton. It just feels good to be able to get back up to speed a little bit.”
Although proud of the gritty effort her team showed, Swanton Coach Kendra Gustafson couldn’t help but share her displeasure with having a goal taken off the board.
“We actually changed formations, it’s the first time we’ve ever played it. I literally changed it yesterday. Again, I literally changed it yesterday, and we practiced it and they looked amazing out there. It should have been a tie game in my eyes. That was a terrible call; she was not offsides, it was a good goal. I do think it should have been a tied game. The girls gave everything they had and that’s all I ask for,” Gustafson said.
Controversy struck at the 21:14 mark of the first half. It appeared as if the Bulldogs had grabbed momentum when on a shot that caromed off the cross bar, Miranda Yeager was there to stick it back in for a goal. But soon it was Wauseon celebrating instead of Swanton, as the official closest to the play called Yeager for offsides.
“It was the second ball that I think he called, got settled in behind their line and their highest girl was behind (Wauseon’s last defender) and poked it in,” said Schroeder of the play. “Those are tough calls. This is an emotional game and goals are so hard to come by. I understand that heartbreak because we’ve been on the sides of some of those calls where goals are disallowed and that sort of thing. But you’ve got to trust the officials, they’re out here doing a great job, and they want to grow our sport and keep these girls healthy and keep us playing.”
Obviously not in favor of the call, Gustafson was also upset for her freshman in not being able to have the goal added to her stat sheet.
“She plays defensive mid for us. One of her goals this year is to have a goal. She’s got one already, but we’re fine with racking up more,” said the Bulldog mentor with a chuckle.
Swanton’s Jayden Hendricks had multiple attempts throughout the game, including one each near the end of the first half and at the beginning of the second that could have been goals.
Her shot with 4:07 left in the first half was on target but saved by Wauseon goalkeeper Madison Strain, making her first start in goal after an injury to senior keeper Marie Hutchinson.
Hendricks broke towards the goal at the 33:13 mark of half number two, however, she pushed the shot left of the net.
Wauseon seized the lead with 25:44 remaining. Aariyah Hallett was awarded a free kick to the right of the goal which found the foot of Teagan Rupp from just inside the penalty area. Rupp, it seemed, caught Swanton keeper Frankie Nelson off-guard with a hard-hit ball that went into the back of the net past her diving attempt at a save.
“Kind of a putback,” said Schroeder of Rupp’s goal. “And that’s what we tell them, ‘just be ready.’ This is a game where your fortunes can change at the drop of a hat. You kind of make your own luck in those situations by doing the right things. And a lot of these girls made good decisions tonight. Very proud of Teagan’s goal. Really just beautifully struck, exactly where it needed to be.”
Wauseon then added a 1-0 win at Maumee on Saturday. Now 11-1-1 on the season, the Indians are at Delta on Tuesday at 5 p.m.
Swanton is at Riverdale Monday and returns home to face Bryan on Tuesday.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010.