SHAWNEE TOWNSHIP — The Wapakoneta Redskins varsity boys soccer season came to an abrupt end as the Elida Bulldogs pulled off a 3-0 upset win in a Division II sectional semifinal Wednesday night at a rain-soaked Shawnee Field.
In a match that more closely resembled water polo than soccer at times, players raced through and slipped in puddles as the ball skipped all over the field.
A steady rain began falling early in the afternoon and only seemed to intensify as the match wore on.
“We weren’t ready to play,” Wapak coach Marc Dyrness said. “The attention to detail wasn’t there by several of the players during the week. That’s one of those things where you’re counting your chickens before they hatch.”
Wapak outshot Elida 10-9 overall and 8-4 on-goal. But Elida goalkeeper Drew Laing stopped all eight Wapak threats.
The Bulldogs came into the postseason with just a 3-9-2 record. Wapak had defeated Elida 3-0 in their lone meeting this season.
“If the kids were (looking past Elida) they were sorely mistaken,” Dyrness said. “And that was explained to them multiple times. ...
“For three years we had losing seasons and came and knocked people out of the tournament. And I told them exactly that’s what Elida plans on doing.”
Elida got what would ultimately be the game-winning goal at the 29:37 mark of the first half when Trey Bowman crossed the ball through three defenders to Jerod Houston, who punched it into the right side of the net.
Houston scored his second goal of the night with 12:03 left in the half when goalkepper Zach Holtzapple slipped in the mud in front of the south goal, the wettest end of the pitch.
“The two goals we gave up were exactly the thing we worked on for 10 days going into this game,” Dyrness said. “We didn’t get our job done.”
Riley Overholt scored Elida’s third goal on an assist from Houston with 4:09 left in the match.
“It was tough conditions and we handled it well,” Elida coach Tom Thomas said.
Wapak was playing with three seniors — Andy Faller, Joey Jose and Colin Mankin — all significantly slowed with injuries.