ELIDA — Wapakoneta’ defense had speed to burn.
But it was also hungry in gobbling up any loose balls or passes which entered the 18-yard box.
Wapakoneta’s defense turned away Elida in a 3-1 victory Thursday night.
Elida outshot Wapakoneta 12-9, but nearly every Elida shot came outside the 18-yard box, including its lone goal by Aubrey Etzler.
Abbi Ruppert, Madison Lause and Katie Manger scored for the Redskins. Lause also had two assists.
Wapakoneta is 10-0 and leads the Western Buckeye League at 4-0 (12 points). Elida is 4-3, 2-2 (six points) in the WBL.
“This means everything,” Wapakoneta defender Emma Kentner said. “They were second in the WBL and we were first. This was a really big game for us.’’
Wapakoneta led 2-1 at the half, then scored its third goal in the final two minutes.
Wapakoneta junior goalkeeper Corrine Raney had seven saves for the victory.
Elida freshman goalkeeper Chloe Waddle was making her first varsity appearance after regular goalkeeper freshman Erika Suever suffered a concussion Monday at Defiance.
Waddle played well in her varsity debut, making two saves, including one outstanding, diving stop.
The spotlight of the game fell on the Wapakoneta defense, which slowed down a powerful Elida offense featuring Jaydon Hollstein and Jency Jenkins.
“They (the Wapak defense) kept everything in the middle,” Elida coach Elise Jenkins said. “When we crossed it, we have to be on the back side, because it was wide open. But they’re a very good possess team and their touches are amazing.
“Our intensity and effort, all-around for us, was excellent tonight. We just came up short.’’
Elida would battle through the midfield, but found it tough to weave its usual path into the 18-yard box to set up a scoring chance.
Center defenders Torie Carter, a first team all-WBL defender, and Kentner led the Wapakoneta defense. The outside defenders were Abbi McCluer and Alex Debell.
“I have two junior center backs in Torie Carter and Emma Kentner, who have been outstanding this year,” Wapakoneta coach Mike Foor said. “They have a lot of experience, a lot of speed and lot of good foot skills. It’s been a winning combination.’’
Added Kentner, “We wanted to keep everyone out of the 18 and track them down. Torie and I have good speed and we were able to catch them and keep them out of the 18.’’
Foor said he didn’t play anyone one-on-one.
“We play everybody straight up and don’t believe in marking anybody up,” Foor said. “We just tell the girls to know where they’re at.’’
Foor also liked the play of his midfield, which was led by Lause and Manger.
“We talked on the ride over on controlling the midfield,” Foor said. “And I thought we did. … We knew what they were going to bring.’’
Wapakoneta’s first goal came when Ruppert got loose from the Elida defense in the box, after taking a pass from Lause.
Ruppert was one-one-one with the Elida goalie and rammed it into the upper-left part of the net with 36:15 left in the first half.
Elida tied it at 1 when Etzler lined a shot from 25-yards out in the right corner. That came with 9:14 left before halftime.
Lause took a pass from Drew Peachey and hit a shot from 12-yards out to give the Redskins the lead to stay 2-1 with 2:16 to go.
Wapakoneta made it 3-1 when Manger knocked in a rebound shot off a direct kick by Lause from 27-yards out on top.
Elida had the edge on corner kicks, 3-0.
The Lima News sports department can be reached at 567-242-0451.