WAPAKONETA – Wapakoneta scored the first goal and its youngsters were excited.
However, all that did was light a huge fire under Shawnee.
Shawnee posted a 3-2 girls soccer victory over Wapakoneta Monday at Ryan Field.
Shawnee led 2-1 at the half and pulled out to a 3-1 lead until the Redskins scored with 1:56 to play.
Shawnee freshman Ava Schaaf had two goals.
Shawnee is 5-2-1 and 2-0-1 in the Western Buckeye League. Wapak is 4-3, 2-1 in the WBL.
“We’re glad we got this one, but we have St. Marys next and we know that’s going to be tough,” Shawnee forward Sophia Fusillo said.
It’s a new year for the Redskins, who return only three starters from last year’s regional finals team.
Wapak scored first at the 30:40 mark in the first half.
Madi Lause, one of the veterans from last year, played a perfect ball into the offensive end from the midfield.
Taylor Jenkins gathered it in on the right wing and slid a pass to Katie Lisi at the right edge of the 18-yard box.
Lisi sent a shot into the upper-left corner of the net to give Wapak a 1-0 lead.
From there, the rest of the first half belonged to the Indians, who charged down field.
Shawnee continually played the ball into the corners, then crossed the ball into the box.
Shawnee’s Fusillo played the ball into Tessa Jordan at the top of the box.
Jordan fed freshman Schaaf, who was 12-yards out, and Schaaf one-timed it into the net.
That tied the match at 1 with 27:20 left in the first half.
“We all got a little nervous (at the start) because we knew how tough the game was last year,” Fusillo said. “We knew once they started scoring they would probably keep it up. So we had to work hard and we had to get passes together to score.’’
“I’m glad they didn’t get down after that goal,” Shawnee coach Caroline O’Brien said. “Wapak is a very tough, physical team. We just started connecting passes through the midfield and looking for the forwards up top, which worked great. The forwards made some great crosses and had some great through balls to split the defenders to give us some opportunities on goal. … Our main goal was to control the midfield to give opportunities to our forwards up top.’’
Shawnee took a 2-1 after a loose-ball deflection happened at the top of the box.
The Wapak keeper left her net during the scramble and the ball squirted onto the foot of Schaaf.
Schaaf drilled it home from 7-yards out and Shawnee had a 2-1 lead with 25:45 left in the first half.
Shawnee outshot Wapak, 15-14.
Shawnee goalkeeper Kaelan Swallow had 10 saves.
Wapak goalkeeper Allie Wilson had nine saves.
Shawnee took a 3-1 lead when center defender Madi Mason came to midfield and played a ball deep into the offensive end to Fusillo.
Fusillo scored from 12-yards out with 10:39 to go.
“We have a thing where every year I get an assist from her (Mason) and we were trying to do it again,” Fusillo said.
Wapak’s Jenkins scored when there was a scramble off a throw-in in the final two minutes to make it 3-2.
Once again Mason was stellar on the back line, keeping the Wapak offensive surges to a minimum. Mason was second team all-state last year. Mason led the Shawnee defense, while Claire Huff locked down the midfield.
“Claire Huff did a great job as a holding midfielder for us, applying pressure in their midfield,” O’Brien said.