WAPAKONETA — St. Marys Memorial escaped Wapakoneta with a 4-3 Western Buckeye League victory Tuesday at Ryan Field.
The Roughriders led 2-0 in the first 10 minutes and 4-1 at halftime before the Redskins rallied to score two goals during the final 40 minutes and nearly missed tying the contest at 4 in the final 85 seconds.
“This is the first time I’ve beaten Wapak in the four years I’ve coached at St. Marys,” Memorial coach Josh Hertenstein said. “We have tied them and we have lost to them. It feels good to get that monkey off our back. They’re good ... Wapak has a very good team.”
With the Redskins trailing 4-3 in the 78th minute, Wapakoneta’s Taylor Echols sent a pass to Conner Lause inside the penalty box, where Lause took a few steps toward Roughriders goalkeeper Reese Triplett and fired a shot that narrowly missed wide left.
Wapakoneta coach Scott Brinkman was proud to see his team fight back after a slow start.
“I was very proud of the effort our guys made in the second half,” Brinkman said. “Being down 4-1 at halftime, we could have quit and we didn’t quit. We came out in the second half and gave it everything we had. I thought our team grew up tonight by showing some resiliency, some character and some heart.”
Memorial was aggressive early-on as Connor Milner and A.J. Dieringer scored goals to put the Roughriders ahead 2-0 in the first 10 minutes. Milner took a pass from Easton Craft for the initial goal in the fourth minute before Dieringer used an unassisted tally to give St. Marys a two-goal cushion in the eighth minute.
“We like to go out and pressure fast while playing solid defense. Tonight, we were able to get a couple quick (goals) and we rode that momentum,” Hertenstein said.
The Roughriders went ahead 3-0 as Joey Vanderhorst scored on a pass from David Wermuth in the 28th minute.
Echols helped Wapakoneta cut into Memorial’s lead in the 31st minute, when his goal put the Redskins on the scoreboard at 3-1.
But Milner answered in the final seconds of the 40th minute, when his second goal of the match beat WHS goalkeeper Justyce Van Meter to help the Roughriders regain a three-goal cushion.
“(Memorial) was more aggressive at the start and it took us a while to get to that point,” Brinkman said. “Once we got there, I thought we were really good. That goal right at the end of the first half was a killer. If we were into the half at 3-1, it’s a different story. At 4-1, it’s a hard one to come back from.”
The Redskins kickstarted their comeback in the 47th minute, when Dylan Whitehead won the ball from Quinn Holtzapple, dribbled inside the penalty box around Triplett and kicked the ball into an open net.
Echols made it a 4-3 deficit for the Redskins in the 77th minute, when he took a pass from Lause and fired a shot that got past Triplett.
Memorial improved to 4-0-1 overall and 2-0-0 in the WBL, while Wapakoneta fell to 4-2-0 and 0-2-0.