BY JEREMY SCHNEIDER | MIRROR SPORTS — Sometimes a win means more than just a check mark in a column.
With a 2-1 win at Wauseon last Saturday, the Maumee boys soccer team served notice to the rest of the teams in the district that the Panthers are not to be taken lightly.
It also gave Maumee its eighth win of the season, matching last year’s win total. With three regular season games left to play, the Panthers could be eyeballing the 11-win total of the 2018 team.
Maumee struck first against the Indians, when Blake Wagener found Austin Dwyer for a goal just 12 minutes into the match. Wauseon answered with the leveling goal only 30 seconds later.
Later in the first half, though, the Panthers retook the lead. Zach Gronau headed a ball into the goal off a corner kick from Jaxson Greenlese.
Maumee goalkeeper Taylor Lewis had six saves.
“That win was huge,” said Panthers coach Chad Kain. “They’ve gotten us the last couple of years and we needed to prove to ourselves we can play with them. We live by the motto, ‘Play like you belong, fight for 80 minutes and good things will happen.’”
Earlier in the week, the Panthers traveled to face Northview in a Northern Lakes League matchup, with the Wildcats taking the 6-1 win.
Wagener scored off an assist from Diego Barboza in the first half. Lewis had 14 saves.
The Panthers fell to 0-5 in the NLL, but they are 8-1 in non-conference games.
“We prepare the same way no matter who we play, but we talk about must-win games and games we need to compete in and learn from,” Kain said.
“We definitely want to win in the NLL, but we know we have to be on our A game and play a perfect match, considering five teams are ranked in the Division I polls and Bowling Green is ranked sixth in Division II.
“We treat non-conference games as must-win games to stay above the charts, and this year we did that, only losing to Evergreen.”
The Maumee girls soccer team fell to Northview, 6-0. The Panthers trailed by just a goal, 1-0, at halftime, but the Wildcats surged with five goals in the second half.
Northview came into the game ranked 13th in the latest girls soccer state poll.