Wauseon boys soccer, who as recently as last year had trouble finding the back of the net, has scored four or more goals five times this season. On Thursday, they were able to do so against a quality league opponent in Swanton, rushing out to a 3-0 lead in what turned into a 5-3 win in Northwest Ohio Athletic League action.
“Yeah it was. It really was,” said Wauseon coach Casey Elson on if his team’s fast start was surprising. “We don’t really put up too many goals, we’re more of a defensive team. But you know, it’s always great when you can come out (fast). And I thought Eli Delgado, he really set the tone. He came out and was ready to go. I couldn’t have been more proud of him.”
“It’s just a breakdown on defense. You can’t come out and be flat,” noted Swanton coach Joe Hensley. “Especially against a team that’s gonna press you with five or six guys.”
Wauseon pressured right from the start, as Jameson Gray was left alone and finished a shot to give his team a 1-0 lead 48 seconds in.
Then, the Indians’ freshman forward, Delgado, got into the action. First he headed in a ball played from the side at the 35:36 mark. And with 33:35 left in the first half, Delgado took advantage of more pressure by the Indians, banging one into the right corner of the net for a 3-0 lead.
“He’s a good player,” said coach Hensley of Eli Delgado. “I think that’s the goalkeeper’s (Easton Delgado’s) brother. Those guys are good soccer players. They’ll definitely (receive) all-league honors for sure. But, what killed us is our defense. Especially in the first half. The first 15 minutes, that gave the game away.”
Swanton had come back on their minds when they got on the scoreboard with just over 25 minutes left in the half.
A Riley Hensley free kick was turned away by Easton Delgado, however, Mason Sullivan was there on the rebound to make it a 3-1 game.
Less than a minute later, Hayden Callicotte put a shot on goal following a Swanton corner kick. But, that attempt was saved by Easton Delgado.
Wauseon’s tandem of J.T. Hutchinson and Eli Delgado combined for the next goal that made it a three-goal margin at halftime. Hutchinson sent a ball through the air that found the head of Delgado, sailing over the arms of Swanton keeper Jix Hensley for a 4-1 lead with 7:23 left in the half.
“He’s been steadily a good player. Just not being able to kind of finish on those (opportunities),” said Elson of Eli Delgado’s performance. “And we really worked on his headers. That was probably one of the best headers I’ve seen him have all season. He said the same thing and he said he felt great. I said ‘well you looked even better.’”
The Indians added to their lead past the halfway point of the second half, which made it tough on Swanton’s hopes of a comeback.
Brandon Martinez charged in from the left side, crossing one over to Andrew Pile who finished it, giving the Indians a 5-1 lead at the 18:52 mark.
The Bulldogs got a pair of second half goals as Riley Hensley put one in not even 20 seconds after Pile’s goal, then he scored with only 1:18 remaining.
“I told them towards the end I didn’t really like giving up the two late goals. But you know, we have to know as good a team as Swanton is they were gonna come back and battle. And I thought they (Swanton) did a good job at not giving up and still fighting. They kept a good game at us,” said Elson.
Swanton responded with a 6-2 win at Rossford Saturday.
Wauseon (7-2-5, 3-1-1 NWOAL) hosts Delta (4-7-2, 1-4) Tuesday to finish off the league slate. Swanton (9-5, 3-2) travels to Bryan (7-1-6, 3-0-2) Tuesday.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010