BY ANDY ROWER | MIRROR SPORTS — A strong second half propelled Maumee’s boys soccer team to a 6-1 victory at Napoleon on September 11.
Finding themselves tied with the Wildcats at 1-1 following a late first-half goal by Napoleon freshman forward Devin Boettner, the Panthers took the final lead just 3:12 into the second half on an assist from sophomore midfielder Colin Wedge to senior forward Braden Wagener.
Despite some great defensive play by Wildcats junior goalkeeper Ben Schumm and classmates Aden Hersh and Gavin Hull, a Napoleon foul led to a converted penalty kick for Wagener in the 53rd minute.
Wagener next assisted on Maumee goals by senior midfielders Luke Metzger and Kyle Robinson in the 57th and 59th minutes, but the Panthers were not satisfied just yet.
Robinson went on to tack on Maumee’s sixth goal in the 68th minute.
The Panthers’ Metzger and senior Brent Freeman went on to outshoot Wildcats junior forwards Trey Cruz and Zach Miller 3-2 as the clock wound down, but neither team managed to add to their totals.
Napoleon’s Schumm, Cruz and freshman midfielder Drew Grant displayed solid defensive play to start the contest off, but Maumee still netted the first goal on an assist from Robinson to senior midfielder Sam LaChapelle in just the fourth minute.
The next 31 minutes saw attempts from the Panthers’ LaChapelle, Robinson, Wagener, Wedge and sophomore midfielder Andrew Studenka and the Wildcats’ Cruz and Grant, but no real damage was done – despite a penalty kick and a shot off the crossbar.
Maumee’s LaChapelle, Metzger and seniors Konner Byers and Adam Diegel shined defensively over the stretch, as did Napoleon’s Schumm – who made three saves as well as numerous key plays out of the net.
Boettner’s eventual tying goal came in the 35th minute.
Led by Robinson (two goals, assist) and Wagener (two goals, two assists), the Panthers ended up outshooting the Wildcats 23-9.
Schumm finished with eight saves and senior keeper Chase George added four more. The duo saw additional defensive help from Napoleon sophomore Tyson Reynolds – notably in the second half.
Maumee sophomore keeper Isaac Tolbert and junior Lorenzo McCardell each posted a save for the Panthers, and sophomore defenders T.J. Carney and Aidan McGann also played extremely well.
The Panthers improved to 5-2-1 (1-2 in Northern Lakes League play) with the win.
Archbold 8, MHS 3
Maumee dropped its third game of the season at state-ranked Archbold four days later.
The Blue Streaks jumped out to a 4-0 lead before Panthers senior midfielder Tyler Nayfack headed in an assist from Wagener.
Archbold netted two more scores before Nayfack assisted on a McGann goal to push the score to 6-2.
Trailing 7-2 to start the second half, Maumee’s Byers and Freeman helped to hold the Blue Streaks offense to just one more goal in the second stanza.
Studenka and the Panthers offense matched Archbold over the stretch, when Wagener scored on a Robinson assist.