- Eyes On
For the fourth consecutive game, the Wapakoneta Redskins varsity girls soccer team shut out the opposition.
They have been doing so behind a stingy defense and the goalkeeping of junior Mikayla Halfhill, but on Thursday, the Redskins needed that defensive effort more than ever as they only scored one goal in blanking the Coldwater Cavaliers, 1-0, at Ryan Field.
“She (Halfhill) did not get a lot of opportunities to make saves, but she is doing well and she has a really good defense in front of her,” Wapak varsity coach Ross Kantner said. “We are keeping the ball in front of us on defense and when you do that good things are going to happen.”
Halfhill faced few shots on goal during the game with the best Coldwater offensive charge during the last two minutes of the game. For the game, she faced only four shots on goal.
For the season, Halfhill and the defense have surrendered only one goal while the Redskins have tallied 17 goals.
The four-game shutout streak includes wins against Fort Jennings, Delphos St. Johns, Kenton and now Coldwater.
The only goal in the game came off the foot of junior Kylee Dahman at the 12:45 mark in the first half. Sophomore Brittany Pequignot assisted on the play.
For the game, the Redskins outshot Coldwater 7-4, with two Redskins shots in the last five minutes hitting the side bar or top bar on kicks by Dahman.
A new defense also is helping keep teams of the scoreboard.
“We are playing a flat 4 in the back, while in the past we played a diamond so it looked like we were attacking more,” Kantner said. “With this formation, we are getting more attack from our outside defenders than we have in the past. Tonight, we didn’t get a lot from our outside backs because Coldwater is just so physical.
“It is a good bunch of kids, a fun bunch of kids and they are working extremely hard — I keep telling them that teams that work hard have good things happen to them,” he said.
Kantner also said he realized the match would pit opposing styles against each other.
“We knew Coldwater was going to be very athletic and very physical, we knew we had to use our soccer skills, our speed and quickness to try and beat them,” Kantner said. “I can’t remember how many quality shots they had, but I know we hit the crossbars four times so if we get those six inches then it might be 5-0 instead of 1-0.”
Coldwater varsity soccer coach Scott Brinkman credited Brittany and Brianna Pequignot with frustrating his offense.
“I think the key to the game was their midfield play,” Brinkman said. “They have those twins there that do a good job controlling the midfield and I think was the difference.
“We made some adjustments at half-time and I thought we did a better job at controlling the midfield and we got more opportunities to score in second half,” he said. “Obviously we also did not let them score in the second half.”
He said he would like to see the urgency they played with in the last two minutes for a full 80 minutes, but he realizes his squad will not quit and they played until the final second ticked off the clock.
In the end, the Cavaliers leader said Wapak’s play was the difference.
“A lot of credit must go to Wapak,” Brinkman said. “They understand the finer points of the game. This is a big field and they use all the space and their coach was yelling, ‘Chalk, chalk,’ to spread the field and then go back to the middle. They did a great job.”
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