ELIDA — After being outshot, outplayed and outscored for 52 minutes, the Wapakoneta Redskins finally took their first shot on goal.
And Mallory McDevitt made it count.
McDevitt drove a free kick from just outside the 18-yard box into the corner of the net for an equalizing goal to give Wapak a 1-1 tie with the Elida Bulldogs in a Western Buckeye League girls soccer match Tuesday night at Elida Middle School.
Elida controlled the first half of play, taking six shots on goal to none for the Redskins.
But solid play in-goal by senior goalkeeper Ashley Knippen kept it a scoreless tie at the break.
“As I’ve said before, I think she’s the best goalie in the league,” Wapak coach Ross Kantner said. “And she showed it tonight. She kept us in the game in the first half and gave us an opportunity to win.”
The Redskins struggled to possess the ball. What touches they did get often resulted in quick turnovers as most of the first half was played on Wapak’s defensive end of the field.
“It was pretty evident that we weren’t controlling the ball as much as we would like to,” Kantner said. “We need to work on our first touch and controlling the ball after we get it. ...
“We didn’t get a lot of good combinations offensively put together,” he said. “When we beat them, we beat them with speed one-on-one. I would like to see us a little more controlled with a little more offensive build-up. And then to finish when we get the opportunities.”
Elida broke the scoreless tie on Lindsey Hall’s header off an assist from Beth Boyle less than three minutes into the second half.
The score remained 1-0 for the next 10 minutes until a foul was called on Elida just outside the top of the 18-yard box.
That’s when McDevitt punched the past Bulldogs goalkeeper Kaitlyn Morrisey to knot the score.
It was Wapak’s first shot on goal of the match.
The goal seemed to awaken the Redskins, who began attacking offensively with a renewed enthusiasm.
“I think they pressured us more once they scored,” Elida coach Brady Overholt said. “We weren’t ready for that at our midfield.”
Wapak took four more shots on goal in the match but could not come up with the winner.
“We didn’t give up. We fought through it and got the score to tie it up,” Kantner said. “I though we had opportunities to get another one but it just didn’t fall for us.”
In all, Elida took 12 shots on goal to five for the Redskins.
Knippen had 11 saves for the Redskins. Elida’s Morrisey had three.
It was the WBL opener for both teams. Wapak is 1-2-1 overall and 0-0-1 in league play. Elida is 1-1-1 and 0-0-1.
The Redskins return to action Thursday at Ryan Field against the Coldwater Cavaliers.