Boys soccer: Shawnee edges Bluffton

SHAWNEE TOWNSHIP — There was a Bluffton corner kick, then a punch save.

Then, another Bluffton corner and another punch save.

Then came a third Bluffton corner and this time the shot rang off the post.

Shawnee goalkeeper Jack Tenwalde withstood the flurry to post a 1-0 Indians’ victory against Bluffton in a boys soccer match Saturday afternoon.

Shawnee, which has won the Western Buckeye League title, is 12-1-1 and won nine in a row.

Bluffton, the Northwest Conference champion, is 8-6-1.

Shawnee coach Ryan Quatman said, “It looks like they (Bluffton) have a pretty good aerial team in there.

“We picked up Bluffton years ago because they give us a nice lead in to the tournament. We knew we’d get a good quality game out of them and they certainly gave it to us.’’

Shawnee scored its only goal off the head of Collin Scheid with 2:59 left in the first half.

Bluffton’s three straight corner kicks came with 16 minutes to play in the game.

The first two shots off the corners came off the foot of Eden Antrim.

Both shots were punched over the crossbar by Tenwalde.

The third corner was headed by a Bluffton player in the box and it banged off the left post.

“It all happened in a matter of seconds,” Tenwalde said. “I saved one, the next one comes in and I saved it. The next one hits the post and we got out of there.

“I was thinking, ‘Why does this keep happening three times in a row?’ ’’

For the match Tenwalde had three saves for the shutout and all three were either punched or tipped over the bar.

“We thought it would be a pretty even game,” Tenwalde said. “They beat Kenton, who we had trouble with.’’

Quatman said, “Bluffton gave him a nice workout and Jack showed his ability and skill there tonight.’’

Kyle Basil made five saves for Bluffton.

Shawnee outshot Bluffton 8-5.

Both teams had four corner kicks.

“That was exciting, to see the guys fight for those corner kicks,” Bluffton coach Dan Lee said. “It’s something we’ve been working on.’’

Shawnee was coming off a physical 2-0 victory Thursday victory against Kenton.

Bluffton was coming off a 2-1 loss Thursday against Ottawa Hills.

It marked two losses by one goal each to two state-ranked teams in three days for the Pirates.

“With the schedule we play, for Division III, eight of the teams we play will be state ranked this season,” Lee said.

Both teams played without their top scorers because of injuries.

Bluffton played without Nolan Hoffman (hip).

Shawnee played without Austin Miller, who was wearing a boot after he suffered a foot injury in Thursday’s victory against Kenton.

“We need to be prepared to play soccer with 11 guys and right now Austin’s not one of those players,” Quatman said. “We’re playing our games with what we have.’’

It was Shawnee’s senior day, but Bluffton didn’t care anything about senior tributes.

Bluffton controlled play the first 15 minutes, as the Indians had trouble getting the ball out of their own end.

With 19 minutes left in the first half, Shawnee’s Noah Scheid ripped a shot to the right post, which Bluffton’s Basil made a diving save on at the post.

At the 15-minute mark, Luca Fusillo banged a shot off the post.

Bluffton’s Theo Andreas took a strong shot with 11 minutes left in the half, but Tenwalde had a tip save over the crossbar.

The Indians broke through for a score with 2:59 left in the first half.

Fusillo took a free shot from 20-yards out on the right side. Collin Scheid put a header on the ball and it landed in the back of the net.

That gave Shawnee a 1-0 lead.

“That was nice to go into halftime with a little bit of breathing room,” Quatman said.

It was Tenwalde’s eighth shutout of the year, but this was his most difficult effort.

“That was a busy day,” he said.

Tom Usher wrote this story for The Lima News. Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.