Wapakoneta Redskins junior Will Hinegardner (1), right, attempts to head the ball, while Bath Wildcats goalkeeper Cam Clark (99) grabs the ball Monday during a Division II Northwest District boys soccer sectional semifinal at Ryan Field. (Staff photo/Brad Frank)
The Bath Wildcats were the only team the Wapakoneta Redskins faced twice this season, and Wapakoneta did not fare well in either contest.
Bath eliminated Wapakoneta from the postseason Monday with a 1-0 win at Ryan Field, the Redskins’ home venue, in a Division II Northwest District boys soccer sectional semifinal.
Wapak led 1-0 against Bath in their Western Buckeye League match before the Wildcats managed to tie, giving Wapak its first of three ties in WBL play, which ultimately prevented Wapak from winning at least a share of the league title.
“Hand it to Bath,” Wapak varsity coach Keith Rambin said. “They kept us from a WBL championship and getting to the sectional championship.”
After a scoreless first half Monday, the Wildcats’ Austin Ricker scored the match’s lone goal at 33:15 remaining in the second half.
The 1-0 advantage held, as the Redskins spent much of the remainder of the match creating shots, none of which were converted.
Physical play ruled the second half, as the Redskins’ desperation for a goal increased as time on the clock dwindled.
Six yellow cards were issued in Monday’s match, while Wapak junior Sam Hinegardner received two yellows and was disqualified with 3:54 left in the second half.
Rambin commented on Hinegardner’s absence in the final minutes of Monday’s match.
“There were only 3 minutes left, so it didn’t change the scheme of the ball game at all,” Rambin said. “The last 3 minutes, all they were doing is playing defense. I wasn’t really worried about being a man down.
“We had more than enough opportunities,” he said. “We just couldn’t finish.”
Bath notched seven shots Monday compared to Wapak’s 16.
“They found a way to finish,” Rambin said. “The first match, they had two shots and had one goal. We had 16 shots tonight, and our forwards missed wide open shots.”
Wapak, with the end of its season Monday, finished 11-3-3 for the 2013 season.
The team was undefeated in the WBL at 6-0-3 and finished alone in second place, compiling the school’s best finish in the league since a four-year stretch from 1990-94 which included two ties for first place and two second-place finishes.
Rambin said despite the overall success on the season, the team did not meet its goals of being WBL championship and making a postseason run.
“We didn’t accomplish our goals,” Rambin said. “It’s something I struggled with in volleyball for six years, getting everybody used to learning how to win. Bath’s been in the postseason and made deep runs, and Wapak hasn’t. You have to learn how to win. It’s a learning process.”
Bath lost in a regional semifinal in last year’s postseason.
The Redskins will lose five seniors from this year’s team, including Bailey Hinegardner, Seth Hoelscher, Kaleb Miller, Stephen Miner and A.J. Wahlie.
“They’ll be missed,” Rambin said about the seniors. “They gave it everything they had. Tournament-wise, certainly, we didn’t meet their expectations for their last year. Hopefully, finishing 11-3-3 is something they’ll remember, and they were a big part of that.”
Bath, with its win over Wapak on Monday, advanced to a sectional championship to be played Thursday at Ryan Field.
The Wildcats will play the Shawnee Indians at 5 p.m. Thursday. The winner will advance to the Elida district tournament.
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