Wapakoneta Redskins senior A.J. Wahlie (7) kicks the ball Thursday in Western Buckeye League varsity boys soccer action against the Elida Bulldogs at Ryan Field. (Staff photo/Brad Frank)
High levels of pace of play, physicality, intensity and desperation prominently dictated an exciting second half in an important, early Western Buckeye League contest Thursday. The result, however, was a 0-0 tie between the host Wapakoneta Redskins and the Elida Bulldogs in a varsity boys soccer game at Ryan Field.
Both teams remained unbeaten in the WBL play with league records of 1-0-1 but fell one win behind Celina and St. Marys, who sit at 2-0-0, for first place in the standings.
“It wasn’t a win but it wasn’t a loss,” Wapak varsity coach Keith Rambin said. “We’re still in the hunt for the WBL.”
The foremost scoring opportunity late in Thursday’s game was when Elida received a corner kick opportunity with 20 seconds remaining.
A Kaleb Miller save allowed the Redskins to escape without surrendering the tie.
Rambin said Wapak defended that corner kick as well as it could have.
The Redskins encountered a similar situation against Elida this past summer, one that didn’t fare as favorably.
Tied at 3-3 late in the game, Wapak allowed a tiebreaking goal to Elida with 10 seconds left. This time, on Thursday, the tie remained.
Miller saved nine shots for the Redskins.
Wapak took 11 shots in the second half but only one in the final 20 minutes of the game in crunch time.
Rambin said Elida was shutting down the middle of the field, taking away Wapak’s passing lanes.
“They had a sweeper back to stop those through balls, and it took us awhile to adjust,” Rambin said. “Up until now, we’ve been able to beat everybody down the middle. That sweeper plugs the middle. We started playing the ball on the outside and got more looks.”
The Redskins coach described his frustrations from the first half.
“We weren’t very patient,” he said. “The problem is we run such a fast-paced offense that sometimes we get a little impatient.”
Wapak was eventually able to consistently put shots on or near the goal but came up empty, totaling 18 shots, 13 of them on goal.
“The crosses were there. We just couldn’t finish,” Rambin said. “There’s going to be nights like that where everything just misses. We got a bunch of good looks. They have a good goalie who made a couple nice saves. We just couldn’t get it to go in.”
The Redskins will face Lima Central Catholic at 2 p.m. Saturday.
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