MISHAWAKA — The Northridge Raiders got barely beat, despite getting bear-like beat up.
By the accounts of both head coaches, this was a physical tussle, and by the accounts of both, that favored Warsaw, as the Tigers nipped the Raiders 1-0 on a late rebound goal to win their sixth straight regional boys soccer crown, taking the Class 2A final Saturday, Oct. 19, at Mishawaka’s Baker Park.
“It was way more physical than I think a championship game of a regional should be played,” Northridge coach Todd Woodworth said. “(Soccer) is a game of skill and finesse, and yes, there is physicality to the game, but I guess the skill and finesse is a philosophy that appeals to me. That’s the thing that should be judged and that’s the thing that should be on the (officials), and I don’t think it was tonight.”
Junior Ernesto Cuellar hammered in the rebound tally with 12:07 remaining after Raider keeper Philip Keller made a leg save on Sam Allbritten’s point-blank shot.
“I understand some of their issues,” Warsaw coach Scott Bauer said of the Raiders’ complaints about physicality. “I saw some of them, too, but that’s (this center official’s) style of officiating, and I think they probably got the worst of it.”
No. 18-ranked Northridge (14-4-3) lost for the first time in at least 12 outings, having gone 9-0-2 over its previous 11, including a 1-0 home win over the Tigers on Oct. 3.
No. 9 Warsaw (14-2-5), the 2A state runner-up a year ago, earned a spot in its own semistate next Saturday, Oct. 26, and will be looking to advance to the State Finals for the third time in four years.
2A MISHAWAKA REGIONAL
Warsaw 1, Northridge 0
W — Ernesto Cuellar (Sam Allbritten assist) 68th minute.
Shots on goal: Warsaw 6, Northridge 4. Saves: Warsaw — Peyton Long 4; Northridge — Philip Keller 5. Corners: Warsaw 3, Northridge 3.
Records: Warsaw 14-2-5, Northridge 14-4-3.
Next: Warsaw vs. Crown Point (18-0-1) in 2A Warsaw Semistate semifinals Saturday, Oct. 26, approximately noon, following 10 a.m. semifinal; championship at 7 p.m.