|Ottoville blanks Van Wert 3-0|
|Wednesday, August 21, 2013 12:30 AM|
By Charlie Warnimont
OTTOVILLE — Ottoville had their game plan set as they prepared to face Van Wert in their second game of the season Monday evening at the Ottoville Soccer Complex.
A change by the Cougars defensively prevented the Big Green from being able to accomplish what they set out to do. But with time to adjust at halftime, the Big Green were able to get a few more runs on the Van Wert goal and added a pair of insurance goals as Ottoville topped the Cougars 3-0 in boys soccer action.
The win moved the Big Green to 2-0 on the young season, while this was Van Wert’s season opener.
Ottoville wanted to put as much pressure on the Van Wert goal as possible early in the match. However, the Cougars adjusted their defense in an effort to slow down the Big Green offense. Their switch in defenses slowed Ottoville’s offense attack before they were able to make adjustments at halftime to get more looks at the Cougar goal.
“They did some things in the first half to disrupt the things we wanted to do,” Ottoville coach Eric Gerker said. “We were able to get an early goal, which helped us relax, but they were doing some things at the end of the first half that had me concerned. They were dropping their forwards back and overloading the midfield and we had a real hard time possessing the ball. At halftime we went talked about swinging the ball and changing fields and once we started to do that we were able to put more pressure on the ball.”
Ottoville had a chance in the first minute to grab the lead as Jared Fanning took a long pass, got behind the Van Wert defense and had a one-on-one opportunity on the Van Wert keeper. Van Wert’s keeper came out and denied Fanning a shot attempt taking the ball off his foot.
Although the Big Green only had three shots on goal the first half, they were able to knock one home with 24:48 left in the first half. Senior Lucas Maag gave Ottoville a 1-0 lead when he knocked home a shot. Van Wert took just one shot in the first half that was grabbed by Big Green goalie Colin Bendele.
After making adjustments at halftime, the Big Green still found it hard to get shots off early in the second half. Van Wert actually had the first shot of the second half that was saved by Bendele.
Ottoville was able to get a shot off on goal a short time later that the Van Wert goalie grabbed. With 27:22 left to play, Maag made it a 2-0 game when he took a pass from across the field. Dribbling up the right side of the box, Maag fired a shot across the mouth of the goal that slipped inside the left front post making it a 2-0 game.
The Big Green’s final goal came with 55 seconds left when sophomore Drew Williams knocked home a loose ball in front of the Van Wert net.
“We executed the ball on the second goal,” Gerker said. “We worked the ball outside-in, inside-out from our outside mids to hit our forwards on the cuts we wanted through the middle of the field. We were able to have Alex (Horstman) penetrate down the middle and find Lucas making a good cut to the backside for the finish. It’s work in progress as we have a real young team this season. We need our seniors to step up and they did tonight scoring two of three goals.”
While Ottoville may have found offense hard to come by, their defense did another fine job as they posted their second shutout of the game. Van Wert had three shots in the game as Bendele had three saves.
“Our defense is really playing well right now,” Gerker said. “We spent a lot of time in the pre-season and scrimmages working on marking assignments and Colin (Bendele) is doing a good job back there calling out what he sees and communicating with the defense. Our defense is communicating really well right now.”
“Offensively we are going to struggle all year until someone really develops and starts taking it upon themselves to really push,” Van Wert coach George Scott said. “Overall I was happy with the performance. It’s one of the best opening season performances we have had. A 3-0 score doesn’t really show it, but we passed the ball well, we possessed the ball, we saw it on defense. We you see how many new people we have, we played really well.”