MILLBURY — Wauseon staved off a late Maumee rally, the Panthers scoring with just under 11:30 left in the game, to pick up a 2-1 win in a Division II girls soccer district semifinal at Lake High School on Wednesday.
“It’s good situational soccer,” said Indians’ head coach Brandon Schroeder after the game. “Of course, you’d like to breathe a little easier during the last minutes of the game. But, at the same point, it’s only gonna get tougher from here.
“To have a win that way is just good in preparation for the next one.”
But, in the next game for the Indians, an Oak Harbor goal with just 17 seconds left gave them a 2-1 victory and district championship.
All goals in that contest came in the second half, with Wauseon getting one from Abby Smith assisted by Kadence Carroll.
Against Maumee, the Indians grabbed a 1-0 lead at the 23:21 mark of the first half when Aariyah Hallett put away a ball in front of the net.
Wauseon was very aggressive offensively in the first half, leading to multiple corner kicks and chances at the net.
“Those are always dangerous set pieces anytime you can get your numbers up and try to get it into the box,” said Schroeder of his team’s many opportunities from the corner. “Of course, we’d like to score on the first ball in. But, even just setting ourselves up, we’ve got great girls who move well in that box. I think that really was a big part of our success.”
Their aggressiveness led to a penalty kick that Smith scored on with 5:51 to go before half, making it 2-0 in favor of the Indians.
Carroll was doing all she could to help the Indians add to their lead in the second half. She fed Hallett for a chance with 35:44 to go, but the shot was saved by Maumee goalkeeper Aubrey Hiles.
Then, Carroll booted one herself from 15 yards away that went outside of the left post. With 24:43 remaining, Carroll intercepted a Panther goal-kick, juked a Maumee defender, and put the ball on net but right to Hiles.
The Panthers scored on a free kick with 11:29 left that just cleared the hands of Wauseon keeper Madison Strain. Although Maumee had a resurgence of momentum following the goal which made it 2-1, the Indians were able to hold on for the victory.
“That was a heck of a shot from probably about 35 yards, I think, is what it looked like on that free kick piece,” Schroeder said of the Maumee goal. “Unfortunately there’s not much to be done. We looked like we had the right step on the ball it just got there. Really proud of this defense; it’s a very veteran group. I mean, two of my captains are back there on that back line in Eva (Mennetti) and Ellie (Rodriguez).
“We’ve got a lot of faith in that back line to keep our freshman keeper (Strain) clean. And they did that really well tonight.”
Wauseon finishes the season 14-3-2 after Saturday’s loss. They were district and NWOAL runners-up.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010.