After a six-day break, the Mississinewa Indians were fresh, rested, and showed no sign of rust in a dominant performance on Tuesday evening.
Against Wapahani, the Indians controlled the match from start to finish, recording a remarkable 46 shots and playing stout defense in a 6-0 shutout triumph.
Colin Yoder scored twice for the Indians and also added two assists, while Holden Brown also found twine on two occasions. Freshman Elliott Williams collected a tally in the second half.
After playing their first seven games in the course of 11 days, the Indians’ schedule drastically lightened over the last two weeks. That gave Mississinewa a chance to regroup, rest, and refocus for the rest of the season, and the time off certainly paid dividends on Tuesday.
“We’ve had some time off, which helped,” Mississinewa Head Coach Jared Reel said. “We got some guys back from injury, and we are almost at 100 percent.”
Missississinewa took control of the contest in the final 18 minutes of the first half, scoring three goals in a span of 7:10. Their first tally came off a Wapahani own goal with 18:47 remaining in the first half, and Brown doubled Mississinewa’s lead a short time later on a beautiful cross from Yoder. Yoder than capped off the first half scoring with 11:27 remaining, giving the Indians a 3-0 advantage heading into halftime.
Mississinewa kept the pedal to the medal in the second half. Yoder recorded his second goal less than seven minutes in, Williams scored less than six minutes after that, and Brown scored the Indians’ final tally with 17:02 remaining in the contest.
“They played well,” Reel said. “We’ve been working on a few things the last couple of weeks, and what I was happy to see is that we were implementing that in the game. Movement on our back line has gotten better, we are moving off the ball, and communication [has been better.]
“We looked good. I was proud of my kids with how they played.”
Missisisnewa’s fresh legs were evident from the opening kick. Over the course of the 80-minute affair, the Indians dominated possession, allowing just three Wapahani shots – none of which were high quality scoring chances. The Indians’ midfield did an expert job of shutting down the Raiders’ offense, applying constant defensive pressure, while their front line consistently peppered the Wapahani goal, leading to several excellent scoring opportunities.
“Our midfield played strong tonight, and they played together,” Reel said. “That is something we have really emphasized – we have to get everyone involved. We have to get our forwards involved and our guys on the outside, and if we have to, use our defense and drop a little bit to keep possession of the ball.”
Heading into their stretch run, the Indians have regained their composure and are playing soccer as a cohesive unit. Now, Reel is looking to keep the momentum going for the rest of the regular season.
“We are going to continue moving off the ball and continue what we did this past week,” Reel said. “We have to win eight in a row. We have to win out. That’s the goal. We have to win every game, but we have to come out and play our hardest and nobody can have a second off to do that. We want to have more wins than we had last year, beat some other teams we haven’t before, finish strong, and go into sectionals on the front foot.”