A less than ideal start put the Wapakoneta Redskins in what proved to be too big of a hole Thursday against the visiting Sidney Yellow Jackets.
The host Redskins trailed 3-0 with 17:27 before halftime and did not recover in their 3-1 loss Thursday in a non-league varsity boys soccer match at Ryan Field.
The loss came in Wapak’s final match before its big Western Buckeye League showdown Monday against the St. Marys Roughriders.
Wapak and St. Marys are each undefeated in WBL play, as the Redskins are 4-0-2 and the Roughriders are 5-0-1.
“Unfortunately, you’re not going to have your best stuff every night,” Wapak varsity coach Keith Rambin said Thursday. “Mentally, we didn’t have our best stuff tonight, but I have no doubt, come Monday, everybody will be ready to play mentally.
“We’ll come back Monday and we’ll be ready to go,” he said. “I look forward to a good match.”
Rambin, as Sidney started to buffer its lead Thursday, began to pull a handful of starters off the field and sat them until the remainder of the first half.
“You’ve got to hand it to Sidney. They took advantage of the opportunity when we were playing flat,” Rambin said. “By the time we got our heads into it, it was a little too late.”
The Redskins responded to the three-goal deficit after the first half by posting a 1-0 advantage after halftime.
“The message I was trying to send was that we have to be ready at all times,” Rambin said. “The point was good teams come ready to play every night.
“We came out flat and played with a lack of intensity,” he said. “I was trying to send a message by putting some of the younger players out there.”
Wapak finally scored with less than 8 minutes into the second half on a goal by Sam Hinegardner.
The Redskins spent much of the next 25 minutes making a furious attack on the Sidney net, had chances sparingly in the match’s final minutes to cut into their deficit but ultimately came up empty.
Wapak eventually took 23 shots in Thursday’s game.
Rambin was pleased with his offense throughout the evening, especially in the second half.
“We had more shots than we knew what to do with,” Rambin said. “You would think the more shots you take, the law of averages would say you’re finally going to put one in, but if they’re not quality shots, you’re probably not going to put one in. Anybody can shoot, but we’ve got to able to finish.
“We ran our offense as well as we have all year,” he said.
Hinegardner made six shots (four on goal) Thursday.
Wapak freshman Alex Lause made contributions to the team throughout Thursday’s game. He managed eight shots, five of them on goal, and assisted on Hinegardner’s goal.
“Alex plays well beyond his freshman status,” Rambin said. “Him and Sam work well together. They work hard. They’ve got phenomenal touch.”