CELINA — Wapakoneta must have thought there was a 15-foot wall at the midfield.
Every time the Redskins hit the center circle, they had to battle and claw just to get past it.
Celina dominated play at both ends in a 3-0 boys soccer victory over Wapakoneta on Thursday .
“Overall, it was a great game and fun stuff,” Celina forward Brennen Piper said.
The match wasn’t as close as the final score. Celina outshot the Redskins, 19-4.
Celina is 9-1, 5-0 in the Western Buckeye League. Wapakoneta is 8-2-1, 4-1 in the WBL. Entering Thursday night, St. Marys was 5-0 in the WBL.
“We played well,” Celina coach Ryan Jenkins said. “Honestly, we didn’t play well Tuesday against Defiance and we challenged the guys that we wanted to come out here and play at our top level and we did tonight. All throughout the field, strikers, midfield, defenders, we played well as a unit and controlled the ball.”
Added Wapakoneta coach Keith Rambin, “That’s the best team I’ve seen in four years. I don’t see anybody beating them. I’m pretty sure we’re looking at a regional qualifier. They are just a good team.”
Wapakoneta played the match without its leading scorer and first team all-WBL forward Alex Lause, who suffered a broken collarbone Tuesday against Bath.
“We’re all good friends with Lause, so it was kind of disappointing to see he wasn’t able to play,” Piper said.
Celina midfielders Garrett Weininger, Jarren Casto, Conner Mills, Payton Smalley and Austin Hines all controlled the tempo and stopped the Redskins from advancing into the offensive end.
“They controlled it and they did a good job of knocking it around to each other,” Jenkins said. “If we lost it, they got it back. And they kept putting the pressure on.”
Celina led 2-0 at half, scoring both goals on corner kicks.
The first goal came off a corner kick by Casto. Weininger delivered the header off the corner into the back of the net with 29:44 left in the first half.
With 20:51 left before halftime, it was Smalley who took the corner. This time Mills came running up from the center of the box and got his foot on the ball and directed it into the net.
That made it 2-0 Celina.
Reid Cox headed in Celina’s final goal with 28:48 to go.
“It was a beautiful cross from Jarren (Casto), it banged around a little bit and it actually, it hit me in the back,” Piper said. “And that set up Reid (Cox) for a perfect diving header and it just went in.”
From there, Celina’s veterans continued to control the ball until the end.
Piper was first team all-WBL last year, while Casto and Hines were second team. Weininger was third team.
Wapakoneta goalkeeper Noah Ritchie played well, coming up with 11 saves. Celina goalkeeper Aden Gariety made four saves.
Celina had 10 corner kicks, while Wapakoneta had only one.
“We’re really young and I thought we played really well, especially in the second half,” Rambin said. “We’re a little bit inexperienced and that’s (Celina) a very good team. … Celina’s a better team.”
The Lima News sports department can be reached at 567-242-0468.