Tuesday’s match proved to be a night of firsts for Wapakoneta.
For the first time in school history, the Wapakoneta Redskins varsity boys soccer team saddled the Kalida Wildcats with a loss.
In his debut as the Redskins varsity boys soccer coach, Keith Rambin left Ryan Field on Tuesday with a win.
In his first time on the pitch in nearly five years, senior goalkeeper Kaleb Miller was credited with a shutout after the Redskins (1-0-0) utilized speed and teamwork in a 5-0 win. Miller had eight saves in Tuesday’s game.
“This feels good, but more than that it sets the tone for the entire season,” Rambin said after the game. “One of the things I had to deal with with the volleyball girls when I took over that program was just getting them convinced that they could compete and win.
“That is what I had to do with these guys — I had to convince them they are a solid group and they can compete but I told them they just have to flip that switch and change their mindset,” he said.
Rambin said now his squad needs to learn this is just one game and they cannot read too much into because they need to get ready for the Temple Christian Pioneers next week.
The first-year varsity coach said his squad is now geared more toward offense now, which showed during the spring and summer when they scored 35 goals in seven matches.
Redskin junior Collin Lenhart jumpstarted the Wapak offense scoring at the 38:32 mark in the first half on a quick hitter. A couple minutes later, junior Cody Benny scored at the 35:29 mark to give Wapak a quick 2-0 lead.
As Wapak continued to spread the Wildcats vertically down the field, Lenhart drove to the goal and scored again with 7:46 left in the first half before junior Sam Hinegardner capped first half scoring when he drove the ball into the back of the net at the 4:40 mark.
“We have a lot of team speed and we like to counter,” Rambin said. “If we can control the ball in the middle of the speed then we have a lot of options because we play four forwards a lot of the time.”
Kalida boys varsity soccer coach Mark Czubik gave all the credit to Wapak.
“Their speed obviously was a factor in the game, but I think they obviously caught us off-guard with their formation,” Czubik said after watching his team start the season 0-1. “I am going to give much more credit to them than stand here and say we made mistakes because they deserve all the credit in the world.
“We had some miscommunication in the back early on which obviously cost us and it took almost 40 minutes for us to figure out and by then it was too late,” he said. “I tip my hat to them they did a fantastic job and they should be very proud of how they played tonight.”
Wapak freshman Alex Lause scored a goal driving to the net on the left side and scoring with 6:19 left in the game for the final margin.
Despite the Wapak goal, the Wildcats controlled the tempo and the ball for much of the second half as they used a slower but more ball-controlled offense in an attempt to try and crack any weakness in the Wapak defense.
Stationed behind the three defenders, Miller consistently turned back shots from Kalida.
“Kaleb is the real deal and Kaleb is a natural athlete,” Rambin said. “He is coming along nicely and our defense gives him a lot of help.”
Providing Miller with defensive help were seniors Stephen Miner and A.J. Wahlie, juniors Will Hinegardner, Bailey Hinegardner, Luke Williams, Noah Lee, Nathan Kremer and Griffin Parrett.
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