For 48 minutes Thursday night, the score was level.
Then the bubble shifted.
Wapakoneta Redskins sophomore forward Sara Warner scored the lone goal of the night to lead the Redskins to a 1-0 win over the Defiance Bulldogs in a Western Buckeye League girls soccer match at Ryan Field.
Eight minutes into the second half, Warner streaked down the left side of the field and fired a shot across the front of the goal, past the outstretched arms of Defiance goalkeeper Brittany Froelich, and into the right side of the net.
The goal snapped a scoreless tie and proved to be the game winner for the Redskins.
“She keeps doing that every game, where she just through hard work and guts gets the opportunity,” Wapak coach Ross Kantner said. “And she just keeps plugging away. She’s deceptively fast and she gets around the corner.
“Every game she’s had a breakaway like that and clanked them off the side, off the crossbar, and tonight she was able to knock it in. That’s good to see. If we can create that offense for her, that’s going to be a good tool for us.”
Wapak survived a fierce Bulldogs assault in the first half
Defiance kept Redskins goalkeeper Ashley Knippen busy as it outshot the Redskins 10-3.
But Knippen corralled nine saves to pitch the shutout.
Six of Defiance’s 10 shots on goal came in the first half. The Bulldogs got several good looks, especially from junior forward Emily Spencer, who three of her five shots on goal in the first 40 minutes.
Senior midfielder Ashley Fogle fired three shots on goal in the first half but didn’t get a single look in the second.
“We didn’t really do anything special other than just tightening [the defense] up,” Kantner said. “Our defense has taken some hits on the chin the last few games. I think they just decided tonight they were going to play hard. And they did.”
Warner led Wapak with two shots on goal. Senior midfielder Katie Sawmiller took the third.
Wapak did a better job in the second half keeping the ball on its offensive end of the pitch and taking some of the pressure off its defense.
“We changed our midfield a little bit [at the half],” Kantner said. “We went from just a straight four across the middle to a stagger in the middle, offense-defense-midfield. That seemed to help fill in the gaps and get the ball forward a little bit. We made a little tweak and it helped.”
Defiance had a couple opportunities in the waning moments but couldn’t capitalize. With 1:35 to play, Spencer’s shot from the right side sliced straight to Knippen. Less than a minute later, the Bulldogs got a breakaway opportunity but were whistled for offsides.
“One of the coaches made the comment that this was a good team win,” Kantner said. “And it was. We had people playing hard all over.
“Sarah Lawrence really played a nice game. She stepped hard on defense. I thought the kids were coming around. It was a good win.”
The Redskins are now 4-5-1 overall.