The Archbold boys soccer team showed why they are the fourth ranked team in Division III on Tuesday when they took down a formidable Swanton team, 6-0, in NWOAL play.
But as a good coach typically does, Archbold’s Sean Stewart was quick to point out the negatives he saw from his team.
“We’ve been playing some decent soccer but we haven’t been finishing our chances,” said the skipper. “We’ve been creating chances and just not finishing. Same was true in the first half (of this game). Seven shots on goal, and we finished one on a set piece. It took until the second half to really start to find our shooting boots.
“They surprised us a little bit. They’ve got some real speed up top that we didn’t anticipate. And so it took us a little while to adjust to that. But once we did, I think we controlled the game really well.”
Archbold held only a 1-0 lead at the break on Lucas Yoder’s header off a Josh Kidder corner kick at the 21:50 mark. However, if not for Swanton goalkeeper AJ Wolford, the halftime difference could have been much worse.
“That kid’s a monster. The kid came up big, came up big on a PK,” said Swanton mentor Rob Upham, referring to an Archbold penalty kick in the second half where Wolford stopped three attempts. “The ball’s bouncing around everywhere. It was ridiculous. Probably the funniest (and) most intense PK we’ve ever had.
“That kid was definitely the player of the game in my opinion.”
“Their keeper played a fantastic game,” added Stewart of Wolford. “Granted, we made it easy on him a few times today and put it right at him. But, man he got across that goal real fast when he needed to and made some really outstanding saves.”
Archbold’s Kaiden Bedsole nearly put one in a little over six minutes into the contest when he got to a rebound shot and slammed it off the right post where it was then gathered up by Wolford.
Bedsole had several other opportunities in the half, notably, a shot with 19:13 remaining that Wolford made a late, diving save on.
The Bulldogs’ best chance in the opening half came on a run up the left side by Josh Adcock at the 15:23 mark. He would push his shot left of the net, keeping the margin at 1-0.
“The thing that we had to correct the most was the midfield situation we had, and our final ball into the final third,” said Upham of his team’s struggles. “It just never got better. And unfortunately, as good as they are, if you make a mistake they’re gonna make you pay for it.”
The Blue Streaks certainly made them pay in the second half, beginning with a Bedsole goal in the left corner of the net to increase their lead to 2-0 at the 34:12 mark.
Swanton’s Tanner Callicotte had a chance from roughly 10 yards out just over a minute later, but his lob was caught by Blue Streak keeper Caleb Wooley.
The Streaks then got a goal from Luke McQuade off an assist from Josh Kidder to make it 3-0 with 30 minutes left. Still on the offensive, Yoder banged one in from the left side with 25:17 to go to put the margin at four.
Bedsole’s second goal and one from Clay Gerig completed the scoring for the Streaks.
Archbold, now 1-0-1 in the NWOAL, knows the importance of every league contest from here on out.
Archbold out shot Swanton 21-2 with Wolford making 15 saves for the Bulldogs. Wooley stopped both of the Bulldog attempts.
Josh Kidder (2), Jared Kidder and McQuade notched assists for the Streaks.
Swanton (5-1) is off until Monday when they are at Pettisville.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010