After just barely edging Bryan 2-1 in a regular season meeting nine days earlier, Wauseon’s offense broke out on Thursday in a 8-0 shutout of the Golden Bears in a sectional final.
Braden Vajen, Gavin Gerig and Eli Delgado each had a pair of goals to lead the Indians offensively. Also scoring were Benicio Torres and Daniel Jiminez.
“We have a lot of speed, and we felt the last game (against Bryan) we did not expose it very well. And so do they. I even told (Bryan Coach) Luke (Collins), I think (Bryan’s) Quinn Brown and Gavin Gerig should have a race-off or something. I think people would love to watch it. I thought we didn’t really show our speed the last game and this one, we really wanted to make sure we were getting out and moving the ball as quickly as we can. Because that’s kind of the pace we like to play at,” said Wauseon Coach Casey Elson.
Gerig got the Indians on the board first, slamming into the back of the net a breakaway opportunity at the 22:40 mark of the first half. He then got behind the Golden Bear defense again about four minutes later, crossing a ball right-to-left over to Vajen for a goal to make it 2-0.
Torres had a nice effort on his lone goal. He got to a ball on the right and, while falling to the ground, got a shot off that went in for a 3-0 lead with 10:01 left in the half.
“He won the (NWOAL) player of the year, but he didn’t want it to make it seem like you know, I’m the player of the year and I don’t have to play anymore,” said Elson of Torres. “He really wanted to come out and showcase his stuff. Let people know, I’m the player of the year but I’m always willing to get better.”
Delgado put in a goal from within five yards at the 4:44 mark, extending their lead at 4-0.
“Eli, you know he never quits. If the ball is in there, you better watch out because he’s gonna get a foot on it of some sort. I thought he did a great job,” Elson said.
In the second half, Gerig scored a breakaway goal, Vajen finished off a corner kick, Jiminez had a putback goal, and Delgado converted a penalty kick to close out the scoring.
Also, their defense was able to preserve the shutout.
“I’ve always been a defensive coach. It’s kind of different for me to have a great offense. I always tell them, ‘a coaches dream is always to pitch a shutout.’ And I just got done telling our keeper, ‘I don’t want to give up goals.’ I know it’s a selfish side of me. But, on the other hand, as a coach you really want to motivate your defense to pitch a shutout,” said Elson.
Wauseon continues its tournament run Monday night at Lake High School versus Toledo Central Catholic. Results from that contest can be found in Thursday’s online issue of the Expositor and at fcnews.org.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010.