Maumee Boys Soccer Passes Evergreen Test With Flying Colors

Maumee senior Austin Dwyer charges downfield during a recent game against Evergreen. MIRROR PHOTO BY JODY SMALLEY

BY JEREMY SCHNEIDER | MIRROR SPORTS — Coming into the season, Chad Kain had a few games highlighted on the Maumee boys soccer schedule, but none more so than a date with Division III power Evergreen.

The Panthers coach thought the matchup with the Vikings, who finished last year ranked sixth in Northwest Ohio, would be his team’s toughest test this season.

If that’s the case, then consider Maumee one of the early season teams to beat in the area after the Panthers dominated Evergreen in a 5-1 win at Kazmaier Stadium last week.

“I think they’re the best team on our sheet. I think when the rankings come out, they’ll be one or two in Division III,” Kain said. “I think they might be the best team in Division III.

“We knew coming in this game would be tough. It was one we wanted to take care of because they beat us last year (2-1). Obviously, the score shows … we’re dangerous. We’re a tough out anywhere we go.

“This was a championship effort by these boys.”

The Panthers (3-0-1) got up early, leading 3-1 at halftime. They scored two more in the second half, including an absurd shot from Blake Wagener that bent from left to right and punched in over the goalkeeper.

Wagener led the team with three goals and one assist, giving him 10 goals and 23 points in the first four games. According to Kain, no matter what teams do to Wagener, he has an answer.

“(Evergreen) saw it today, they tried to put three on him, four on him, man mark him, and there was no answer,” Kain said. “Then when they do that, you’ve got Noah Preciado out here firing, you’ve got Austin Dwyer coming through the gaps.

“They can’t defend just (him). You take Blake out, there’s going to be someone else to punish you.

“Blake is a show and he’s dangerous.”

Frankie Folger had a goal and an assist and leads the squad with six assists this season. Dwyer also had a goal.

The Panthers showed a relentlessness on offense that Evergreen simply couldn’t match.

“We work on everything being high pressure, we don’t want to give anyone a chance to breathe,” Kain said. “We know we have a lot of speed and we know we can finish. You give us an inch, we’re going to put the ball in the back of the net.”

The loss dropped Evergreen to 3-1. In their other three games, the Vikings have outscored their opponents 11-1. Their lone goal against Maumee came from senior forward Riley Dunbar.

Senior goalkeeper Taylor Lewis had 12 saves in the match, giving him 31 for the season. With Lewis and a group of veteran players on defense, Kain knows teams will struggle to keep with up his squad on the scoreboard.

“Jackson Kain, Caeden Light, Corvion Kelly, Braden Saneholtz, Taylor Lewis, those are seniors,” Coach Kain said. “That’s four years in the back, and they know what they have to do. They locked it down.

“They’re tough as nails back there. They don’t get enough credit because you’ve got Blake up there scoring three and four and five goals, but you’ve got to look at what they’re doing. You can’t take anything away from us defensively.”

Now with Evergreen out of the way, the Panthers turn to the Northern Buckeye Conference. They’ll host three-time defending league champion Genoa on Thursday, September 14 and Lake, which shared last year’s title with the Comets, on Thursday, October 12. 

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