Whiteland’s boys soccer team controlled the ball, and Greenwood, on Thursday night to emerge with its first win of the season.
The Warriors beat Mid-State Conference rival Greenwood, 4-2, thanks in large part to junior J.T. Beers, who scored a pair of goals for the Warriors.
“It feels good to get a win,” said Whiteland coach Justin VanHorn. “We’ve played some pretty decent opponents, which helps in games like this.”
Entering the game, both teams had identical 0-3 records, so the agony was going to end for one team while simultaneously extending for the other.
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A bonus for the Warriors was it was a conference win, evening their league mark at 1-1.
“Conference games are so unpredictable,” said VanHorn. “Greenwood has improved a lot since last year.”
It was also the first home game of the year for the Warriors, and they wanted to give the fans something to cheer about in the home opener.
At the start, it looked like Whiteland might dominate, as the Warriors had several shots on goal.
Keeping Greenwood in the game was goalie Logan Wheeler, who made three saves — one off a Beers shot at point-blank range.
Whiteland, however, kept up the pressure, and as the Warriors had possession for most of the first half, sooner or later they were going to score. They did just that in the 36th minute, when Beers took a pass from senior Lalen Ralte and put it past Wheeler to give the Warriors the lead.
It was pretty much the same game plan for the Warriors in the second half. Whiteland took the ball and played the game primarily on the Woodmen’s side of field.
Beers scored again the 60th minute, but that wasn’t the end of Whiteland’s domination. The Warriors continued to keep the ball in the Greenwood end of the pitch.
Greenwood did get a goal, via a penalty kick, by senior Jarod Bailey, who fouled Whiteland goalie Caleb Sanders.
That was canceled out five minutes later when senior Andrew Morgan rocketed the ball past Wheeler to all but seal the win for the Warriors.
The game opened up in the last 15 minutes of play when Whiteland’s Shawn Sullivan nailed a penalty kick in the 76th minute of play. Two minutes later, Greenwood’s Jon Sanchez popped one in to close the scoring.
“Our guys pushed the ball around, but the problem (has been) getting the goals,” VanHorn said. “Not tonight, especially with J.T. He’s a solid player.”