Wapakoneta’s Kyle Beach may be a freshman but the first-year player showed off some veteran moves to record a hat trick and help the Redskins beat Lima Senior, 4-2, in a nonleague affair Saturday.
Wapakoneta improves to 5-3-3 on the season and Lima Senior slips to 5-3-1 overall.
Tied at 1-1 at halftime, the Redskins came out determined to score and an adjustment by Wapakoneta head coach Keith Rambin enabled the Redskins to produce offense as they scored a goal within the first 10 minutes of the second half.
Rambin moved sophomore Keaton Lenhart up to be more involved in the offense and he responded by assisting on two of Beach’s goals and almost scored a goal of his own but missed on a penalty kick late in the second half.
“If you noticed I put No. 2 (Lenhart) on top and he has been our center back for two years but he also has very good feet, and he plays well up here, and I’ve been telling the team that Keaton Lenhart needs to be our target and today in a non league game at 1-1 there was no better opportunity to do it and figure it out before the tournament,” Rambin said. “Exactly what happened is what I expected to happen.”
Beach’s first goal of the second half was a score Lionel Messi would be proud of as the Redskin freshman received the ball around the 30 yard line and then weaved his way in and out of the defense to get into the goalie box and then fired it past Spartan keeper Dalton Hahn.
Lenhart was instrumental in Beach’s second score of the half when he found his teammate streaking towards the goal and then the sophomore made a precision pass between the Spartan defenders to connect with Beach just outside the box who promptly fired into the back of the net.
Beach’s third goal was also aided by Lenhart. It began when Beach found Lenhart going towards the goal and then Lenhart smartly gave it back to his teammate who was speeding towards the goal and Beach finished it off to complete the hat trick.
“His (Lenhart) soccer IQ is good enough to turn and find the open player so in the second half he had two assists, and we had three goals,” Rambin said. “That second half was fun. We possessed and we moved the ball and the best thing is most of those boys are sophomores and freshmen.”
The Redskins start six sophomores and one freshman.
Lima Senior head coach Hunter Vermillion said Wapakoneta was pushing the issue and even though the team talked about it at halftime, the Spartans failed to make the necessary adjustments to prevent the goals.
“They played very high and straight down our throats, and I we talked about adjusting to it at halftime but they executed very well,” Vermillion said.
While Wapakoneta seemed to find a new combination, Lima Senior, which has been struggling as of late, is looking to get back in a winning rhythm.
Lima Senior is coming off back to back losses where it has been outscored 12-1.
“We were real high but we have taken a couple of tough beats, and we just have to find ourselves back to the point of winning,” Vermillion said. “We just have to trust each other and have some fun. They are taking it too serious. I get it. At the moment it is serious for them but when they look back on it this is the beautiful game of soccer.”
The first half saw both teams looking for holes in each other’s defense and it was Lima Senior which grabbed the lead first when Keegan Halliday, who was in the right place at the right time, received a ball that was being bounced around in the Wapakoneta box, and he ended up with it and pooched it over the head of Redskin keeper Christian Mowery at the 30:15 mark.
Wapakoneta’s Kaleb Place got the equalizer approximately five minutes later when he scored one after receiving a pass from Collin Lenhart with a little more than 11 minutes remaining in the first half.
Reach Jose Nogueras at 567-242-0468.