PAIR OF UPSETS HEADLINE SOCCER TOURNEY OPENERS
Ink Free News / Sports on Tuesday, October 8, 2019
A pair of state-ranked teams saw their seasons end prematurely Monday night as the IHSAA boys soccer sectionals got underway. Warsaw, ranked No. 9 in Class 3-A, and NorthWood, ranked No. 10 in Class 2-A, both found their fate in the opening rounds of the state tournament. Tippecanoe Valley also saw its season come to a close in a wrapup of games around the area.
CONCORD 3, WARSAW 1
Warsaw drew first blood in the opening game of the Northridge sectional, but Concord recovered to avenge a lopsided loss to the Tigers during the regular season on the big stage.
Just 10 minutes into the contest, a corner service from Warsaw’s Ethan Grill found its way into the Concord box, to which Jose Lara was waiting. A deflection off his header attempt sent the ball to his feet, which he tucked home the opening goal. Concord needed 14 minutes, however, to stake its claim to the lead. At the halfway point of the first half, a Minuteman shot in the Warsaw penalty area deflected to Caleb Repaich, who crushed the winner past a diving Harrison Mevis. Four minutes later, it was Eusebio Espinoza who used a great piece of individual effort to work the ball to his right foot on a hard charge through the middle of the Warsaw defensive third. His last touch created space, and his rocket went unscathed into the twine for a 2-1 lead.
A long goal kick into the Warsaw zone in the 52nd minute found Andres Dixon, who was able to make a pair of moves upfield without much opposition. Rather than working to a corner, Dixon cut inside and unleashed a hard shot that handcuffed Mevis and gave the Minutemen a shocking 3-1 lead.
“When my boys want to play, nothing surprises me,” stated Concord head coach Shawn McCuen. “I couldn’t love my kids more than anything. The fact that they went out and believed in themselves, us in a coaching staff always believe and always know what there is there. The kids believed in themselves and great things happen when they believe. They are working for the patch and playing for one another as opposed to playing individually or lazy.”
Warsaw, which crushed Concord 6-0 during the regular season, was playing without the services of its field general, senior Tedros Berelsman, after a red card against Northridge left the defender in street clothes on the mandatory one-game suspension. In each of the three Concord goals, all three were derived from play through the middle of the field into the teeth of the Tiger defense where Berelsman generally commands the turf. Without their All-State defender, the Tigers looked unorganized.
Combined with a upper leg injury to Lara, who was visibly hobbled and eventually subbed out, along with speedy Blake Burns taking a hard hit early in the first half, and Warsaw saw its season come to a painful end.
“Two years ago this happened,” said Warsaw head coach Frank Courtois, who needed some time between thoughts as emotion overcome him. Warsaw was upset by Fort Wayne Wayne in 2018. “The team did not show up. I think we’ve been trying to get them to pick up the spirit from the start. But we couldn’t get them to get the team back after the loss on Thursday (to Northridge in the de facto Northern Lakes Conference championship). I think we were in a slump.”
Concord wasn’t just impressive in its goal spurts, but put pressure on Warsaw all night. Concord created 19 scoring chances in the contest, had 10 shots on target, and outshot Warsaw 10-4 in the second half alone. Warsaw had just one shot within vicinity of the Concord net in the final 17 minutes of the match.
“They were a little bit more aggressive and we became a little passive and that’s the difference,” Courtois said. “The defense was so weak. The midfield was so weak. The first two goals, pretty much just tap ins. Our guys just didn’t show up.”
Warsaw sees its season end at 14-4 overall, while Concord moves to 10-4-2 and a date with No. 10 Northridge Wednesday in the sectional semi-final. Penn and Elkhart Central along with No. 19 Goshen and Elkhart Memorial play Tuesday in bracket play at Todd Woodworth Field.
WEST NOBLE 2, NORTHWOOD 1
All of the scoring came in the second half, and No. 15 West Noble had just enough to knock out the host Panthers at the Class 2-A NorthWood sectional at Wellfield Park.
Henry Torres opened the scoring in the 43rd minute for the Chargers, but NorthWood answered 11 minutes later when Kayden Newcomer used an Andre DeFreitas pass to knot the score at one. The biggest play in the match came six minutes later when West Noble was awarded a penalty, which Juan Calvo slotted home for the go-ahead goal.
NorthWood, which had one of its best seasons in program history, bows out 13-3-1 after a top-three finish in the Northern Lakes Conference. DeFreitas ended as the all-time leader in goals scored in a season with 24, and had a point in all of NorthWood’s wins.
West Noble (14-3) will get Angola in the semi-finals Wednesday, the Hornets a 5-0 winner over Lakeland in Monday’s second game. Wawasee and Garrett will play in the second semi-final at Wellfield Park.
CULVER ACADEMY 8, TIPPECANOE VALLEY 0
The Academy overwhelmed Valley in the matchup Monday at the house Steinbrenner built.
The Class 2-A Eagles ran past Valley, with Benjamin Brummell, Fernando Garcia and Carson Meiser among the goal scorers.
Valley, which had strung together five wins in eight September matches, drops its final three contests to close at 5-10-1. The Academy (11-3-1) will take on No. 3 Fort Wayne Concordia Wednesday, the Cadets a 5-0 winner over Rochester in Monday’s first game at CMA. No. 8 Manchester, with the nation’s leading scorer in Harley Kruschwitz, will meet perennial state power Fort Wayne Canterbury in the second semi-final.