No. 2 Warsaw beats Blazers in bevy of ways
MISHAWAKA — It wasn’t just how many goals Warsaw scored, but how many ways the Tigers scored them, that served as evidence of the No. 2-rated team in the state’s wide-ranging potency against Central.
Warsaw tallied in heavy traffic when opportunistic Diego Lopez chipped the ball into an open net after a collision among the Blue Blazers’ keeper and other players from both teams; then scored on a Lopez penalty kick after an indisputable foul in the box; then scored when blazing-fast Nathan Kolbe made a turn-in move from midfield and dribbled all the way to a point-blank goal; and then scored on a long feed from Matt Williams to Kolbe.
When the deluge was over, the Tigers had a 4-0 lead on their way to a 4-1 Class 2A Mishawaka Regional boys soccer championship win over Central at Ward Baker Park, and it could’ve been worse given that another Warsaw shot hit the crossbar and still another was deflected off the post on a slick save by Blazer keeper Derek Mills.
“They’ve got really good players at every position,” Central coach Sherwin Simon said of Warsaw. “They scored all those goals and they were winning a lot of balls in their defensive third. We were pressuring, but never got really good looks at the goal, and that’s a credit to their defense.”
“We knew they were a high-pressure team,” Tiger coach Scott Bauer said of Central, “but we still wanted to come out strong, put some possessions together and put them under some pressure. We thought they might be a little more nervous than us, not having been here before.”
Warsaw (18-1-2) pushed the state’s best active streak of regional titles to five and will host the 2A northern semistate next Saturday. The 12th-ranked Blazers were seeking their first regional crown since 2007.
Warsaw led 2-0 by halftime and 4-0 with 14:40 remaining before Elliott Miller tallied with 12 minutes left as Central averted the shutout.
The Blazers finished 16-3-2 with sectional and Northern Indiana Conference titles in their first season under Simon after going just 8-8-1 a year ago.
“I think we just had a group of guys who came in from Day 1 wanting to get to this point,” Simon said. “We accomplished all our goals except going to State. These guys worked hard starting in the winter and kept working hard all season long, and that’s the reason for the improvement.”
Central will lose seven starters from “a great group of seniors,” according to Simon “but I’m happy with the junior class as well, and beyond that, who really knows what’s going to happen? But I do hope and do believe this is the start of something.”
2A Mishawaka Regional
Warsaw 4, Central 1
W — Diego Lopez (Sam Allbritten assist) 10th minute.
W — Lopez (penalty kick) 29th.
W — Nathan Kolbe (unassisted) 54th.
W — Kolbe (Matt Williams) 66th.
C — Elliott Miller (Isaias Morales) 68th.
Shots on goal: Warsaw 9, Central 6. Saves: Warsaw — Michael Yantz 5; Central — Derek Mills 4. Corners: Warsaw 2, Central 6.
Records: Warsaw 18-1-2 (on field; 11-8-2 including regular-season forfeits), Central 16-3-1.
Next: Warsaw vs. DeKalb or FW Dwenger in 2A Warsaw Semistate semifinal Saturday, Oct. 20, noon; championship at 7 p.m.