BY ANDY ROWER | MIRROR SPORTS — All-Ohio junior forward Zach Mowka recorded a hat trick while leading Anthony Wayne to an 8-1 victory at Maumee in boys soccer on September 4.
All three goals came during a first half in which the Generals jumped out to a 6-0 lead over the Panthers.
The first eight minutes of the fast-paced contest saw a defensive battle between Maumee seniors Konner Byers and Adam Diegel and AW seniors Jake Emch and Ben Gerber.
While Panthers senior midfielder Sam LaChapelle eventually took the first shot in the seventh minute, it was Mowka who broke the scoreless tie in the ninth minute.
The Panthers duo of LaChapelle and senior midfielder Tyler Nayfack went on to outshoot Generals senior midfielder Matt Smigelski 2-1, but Gerber, Smigelski, senior goalkeeper Nick Smith and junior back Eric Rasmusson held their ground.
Despite the strong defensive play of Maumee seniors Luke Metzger and Kyle Robinson, AW doubled its lead on a goal by junior back Jake Rivera in the 18th minute.
With Rasmusson and junior back Brody Sahloff helping keep the ball on the Panthers’ side of the field, Mowka scored his second goal in the 23rd minute before completing his hat trick on a Rivera assist in the 26th minute.
Now trailing 4-0, Maumee’s Nayfack traded shots with the Generals’ Sahloff before AW closed the first half out with a fury of offense.
In fact, junior midfielder Billy Trenka netted the fifth Generals goal in the 38th minute and Rivera tacked a sixth one on with just 57 seconds still showing on the clock.
With Metzger and junior midfielder Andrew Studenka providing defensive support, the Panthers finally avoided a shutout 3:43 into the second half when Robinson scored on an assist from senior forward Braden Wagener.
About two minutes later, though, Anthony Wayne answered with a goal by junior forward Aidan Zimmerman – prompting the Generals to take their feet off the offensive gas pedal.
AW’s Rasmusson, Zimmerman, junior forward Nicholas Guerrette and classmate and back Kobe Ball did go on to outshoot Maumee’s Wagener 6-2 as the game wound down, but the Panthers were able to keep the Generals from adding to their lead until the 73rd minute, thanks in part to the defense provided by Diegel, Nayfack, sophomore keeper Isaac Tolbert and classmates T.J. Carney and Aidan McGann.
That was when Guerrette scored the evening’s final goal with just 7:06 to go.
Anthony Wayne ended up outshooting Maumee 22-9, with Ball, Guerrette, Mowka, Rivera, Sahloff and Zimmerman being the most active for the Generals.
Rivera also finished with two assists and senior midfielder Zach Isaacson and junior forward Griffin Cook joined Guerrette with additional assists.
AW’s Smith recorded a pair of first-half saves and senior Josh Ellis added two more in the second stanza.
The Panthers’ Tolbert totaled nine saves and junior Lorenzo McCardell recorded another.
The Generals improved to 5-2 (2-0 in Northern Lakes League play) and Maumee dropped to 3-2-1 (0-2) with the loss.
Four days later, Anthony Wayne played to a 2-2 tie at Findlay after Mowka and junior midfielder Jacob Sarnes both scored goals.
That same day, Maumee earned a 5-2 win at Bryan.
Wagener, who also scored the Panthers’ lone goal against Northview back on August 28, recorded a hat trick for Maumee.
Robinson and senior Brent Freeman also scored goals for the Panthers.