Swanton led just 1-0 at the half but as it turns out that was all they needed. The Bulldogs added three more in the second half to just one from Wauseon, resulting in a 4-1 win on the road in Northwest Ohio Athletic League girls soccer Tuesday.
“We knew this would be a tough game coming in,” commented Wauseon coach Brandon Schroeder after the game. “I think our girls really fought through to the end. Proud of them for it.”
Swanton had many near misses in the opening half before finally denting the scoreboard. Head coach Jim Dickman equates some of their struggles finding the net to various adjustments they’ve made since the loss to Archbold Sept. 14.
“We’ve changed things around,” the Bulldog mentor said. “Positioning, and responsibilities in the last two weeks. After (the loss to) Archbold, we started changing things around a little bit to see what would work better. We think we’ve got it now. It just took us a while to work through it.”
Swanton’s Haley Nelson cleaned up the loose trash in front of the net at the 15:51 mark of the first half to make it 1-0.
The Indians had a rough go of it offensively against the Bulldog defense, not being able to muster a shot on goal in the first half.
“They’ve got a great first touch,” said Schroeder on what makes Swanton so tough. “When I look at the difference between our teams, I think their first touch on the back line is very strong. They clear the ball well. That gives really a good opportunity for their midfield to play back and give time to recover. And then put together a counter.”
The Dogs and Nelson scored quickly in half number two when the senior was on target with a free kick from nearly 40 yards away, placing it over the reach of Wauseon goalkeeper Hannah Spadafore for a 2-0 lead 1:48 in.
“She takes a bag a balls after practice and shoots,” said Dickman on the work put in by Nelson recently. “That’s what we told them, I go, what do you do in basketball when you’re not making the shots. You stay after, or you come in early, and you shoot. That’s what she’s been doing.”
Bridget Harlett then got involved in the act for Swanton, getting away from some tight defense by Wauseon’s Rylee Campbell and scoring to push their lead to 3-0 at the 31:39 mark.
Harlett closed out scoring for the Dogs at around the 16-minute mark.
“She never quits. She just keeps going,” said Dickman of Harlett.
However, Wauseon would not be shut out. After peppering Swanton keeper Amber Torres with numerous shots down the stretch, Jaydelin Vasvery finally found the back of the net for the Indians with only one tick left on the clock.
“That’s definitely something that we say. Anything worth starting is worth finishing. And worth finishing well,” said Schroeder, speaking to the motivation of his team despite the deficit. “We did that tonight.”
Swanton (9-3-1, 4-1 NWOAL) travels to Kalida for a match Thursday beginning at 6 p.m. Wauseon (7-7-1, 1-4) closes the regular season with a game at Delta next Thursday.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010