ST. MARYS — St. Marys’ midfielders seemed to roll down the field in waves.
The Roughriders built one offensive surges after another.
St. Marys took control in the first half and posted a 6-1 victory over Wapakoneta in a boys soccer match Thursday at St. Marys’ Roughrider Field.
St. Marys attacking midfielder Quinn Holtzapple scored four goals, along with one assist, for the Roughriders. It was his third hat trick this year and of his career.
It marked Holtzapple’s first four-goal game.
“Before the game, it just felt different,” Holtzapple said. “I knew I was going to have a good game. I could feel it.
“But it wasn’t me. It was the entire team. Our midfield won every ball and our defense didn’t let anything go through. … It really came down to our pressure on the ball. Whenever they touched the ball, we had two or three people right on them. And we also had constant communication.’’
A.J. Dieringer and Easton Craft also scored for the Roughriders. Craft added an assist on the night.
St. Marys is 6-1, 2-0 in the Western Buckeye League. Wapak is 3-2, 1-1 in the WBL.
St. Marys dominated the midfield in the first half and outshot Wapak, 17-7 for the match.
“We had a plan coming in,” St. Marys coach Josh Hertenstein said. “We knew they left gaps in between their defensive line and their attack, so that’s where we keyed, on the middle.
“I thought we’d do pretty well, but that (the first half) was a little bit more than we anticipated.”
St. Marys goalkeeper Cayden Ballweg made six saves.
Wapak goalkeeper Gannon Casebolt had 10 saves.
St. Marys had five corner kicks. Wapak took four.
St. Marys led 4-0 at the half.
Wapak was able to mount an offense in the second half, but it wasn’t able to make it close.
“We knew Quinn Holtzapple is a special, special player,” Wapak coach Scott Brinkman said. “And he certainly showed that. He was able to get open early and we didn’t step to press him. We gave him too much room. We gave all their guys too much room, 25-to-30-yards out. … I think their ability to control the midfield was key and when you control the midfield, you control the game.’’
St. Marys continually went to the flanks on offense and made crosses to the top of the box.
With 34:43 left in the first half, St. Marys’ Reese Triplett crossed the ball out of the left corner to Holtzapple, who pounded it into the net from 14-yards out.
That gave the Roughriders a quick 1-0 lead.
St. Marys’ midfielders gobbled up loose balls and started the offense surge again.
This time it was Cody Birt giving a quick pass to Dieringer, who lofted a 35-yard strike into the upper part of the net.
That gave St. Marys a 2-0 lead with 27:42 left in the first half.
At the 17:42, it was Holtzapple scoring again. This time it came off a free kick from 28-yards out.
That gave the Roughriders a 3-0 lead.
St. Marys played nearly the entire first half in the Wapak end.
St. Marys outshot Wapak, 9-1, in the first half.
St. Marys made it 4-0 with 17:02 left in the opening half.
Aiden Jeffries sent a breakaway pass ahead into the box to Holtzapple, who dribbled in and went low-left corner for the goal.
Craft scored on a header from Holtzapple from 8-yards out to make it 5-0 St. Marys with 33:52 to go.
Wapak scored its goal on a rebound shot by Taylor Echols with 22:10 left in the match. The first shot was taken by Austin Bump.
That brought Wapak within 5-1.
Holtzapple scored his fourth goal from 25-yards out on an assist from Craft with 8:02 to play.
That pushed the St. Marys’ lead to 6-1.
Holtzapple nearly had a fifth goal with 18 minutes to go when a Wapak defender had to make a kick save at the goal line on Holtzapple’s low liner.
“He (Holtzapple) said before the game that he was feeling it,” Hertenstein said. “And he was definitely feeling it. He was on tonight.’’
St. Marys marked the 2021 team earning the United Soccer Coaches High School Team Academic Award for exemplary performance in the classroom during the 2021-22 academic year. The Roughriders were one of 118 teams nationally to receive the award. To qualify, teams must have a minimum of 3.25 GPA for the entire academic year and St. Marys earned a 3.83 GPA.
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.