ELIDA — Most teams make adjustments when they get down early.
There are also times when teams just stick to the game plan.
When Shawnee found itself down early to Celina, 1-0, in Friday’s Division II district final boys soccer match at the Elida Sports Complex, Shawnee did not waver.
Shawnee was confident it would get its share of opportunities.
After Celina’s early goal, Shawnee took control of the contest and went on for a 3-1 victory over Celina.
With the win, Shawnee (15-2-1) advances to the regional semifinals next Wednesday against Toledo Central Catholic at Shawnee, with game time set for 7 p.m. Celina ends the season, 12-4-2.
For the game, Shawnee out-shot Celina 10-4.
In fact, Celina’s first shot on goal put the Bulldogs ahead 1-0, a little more than 12 minutes into the contest.
Nathan Wilson nailed a shot from the left wing, nearly 20 yards out, that curved into the upper right-hand corner of the goal. Shawnee goalkeeper Landon Hoehn was unable to slide over in time to make the stop.
However, after Wilson’s goal, Celina managed just two more shots for the first half. In the second half, the Bulldogs mustered just one shot on goal, as Shawnee’s defensive pressure slowed them down.
“We saw a lot of good things in the first half from us, as a team. I didn’t want to change anything,” Shawnee head coach Ryan Quatman said. “So, we said, ‘keep it the same’. We have a very (physically) fit team. So, it’s hard for teams to keep up with us for two straight halves.
“They (Celina) did a good job of sneaking one in on us in the first half. We came out as strong in the second half; and it’s hard for teams to keep up with us. … So, it was about keeping the same (game plan) as in the first half,” Quatman said.
Shawnee got on the scoreboard with 9:52 left to play in the first half.
Brayden Ward scored on a breakaway. Ward snuck the ball past Celina goalkeeper Logan Smith (seven saves), to knot the game at 1 apiece, which held up to the halftime break.
In the first half, Shawnee out-shot Celina 5-3.
The Indians came out strong in the second half.
Just a little more than four minutes into the second half, Anthony Best booted one past Smith from inside the box to put the Indians up 2-1.
Then, less than two minutes later, Jake Miller scored inside the box to give Shawnee the two-goal lead.
From that point on, the Indians kept the pressure on Celina and stuffed out every offensive threat from the Bulldogs.
“I trusted my teammates,” Hoehn said. “We were down early, but I knew we had it. We had the whole first half and the second half to come back. So, I trusted my offense and trusted my defense to produce.”
Jake Miller, who recently became Shawnee’s all-time scorer, said the early deficit motivated his team.
“It got us woken up, for sure,” Miller said. “Everyone realized that they (Celina) were here to play; and we needed to pick up our game, or we weren’t going to be able to have practice tomorrow.”
For Shawnee, the bar has been set pretty high. Last season, Shawnee made it all the way to the regional finals before bowing out to Lexington, 3-2.
“I’ve been coaching here for like seven years, or something like that,” Quatman said. “We’ve changed the program around to where, this is what we want the expectations of our program to be. Yes, it’s nice to win the WBL (Western Buckeye League). … I want that to be an expectation of our program. Yes, we won the district. But I want that to be the expectation of this program. We want to be a premier soccer club in the state.”
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.