Offensive pressure boosts Panthers in regional win over Warriors
By Jacob Heid
STEVENS POINT — The SPASH Panthers boys’ soccer team hosted Wausau West on Oct 18 for its third game with the Warriors this season. The home team used offense to get a 2-1 win, advancing to the regional finals.
SPASH took every opportunity early on to put shots on Wausau West’s net. The Panthers had seven offensive pressures in the first 17 minutes of the game. A couple of shots had great chances to find the back of the net, but only one got around Beckett Teske. Senior Ben Omernik took a header right in front of the net that beat Teske at the 17-minute mark. A couple of minutes later, The Panthers used defense to hold a 1-0 advantage. Goalkeeper Efrain Jaimes-Patino Jr stepped up to defend a shot one on one that got deflected.
The Panthers continued to find lanes to attack, with the next best opportunity in the 24th minute. Winston Hill crossed the ball from the left wing, with Omar Mata missing a one-touch shot over the crossbar. Diego Mata, Omar’s brother, scored the final goal for SPASH with two minutes left in the first half. Mata snuck behind the defense in the box and fired one past Teske. The Panthers led 2-1 at halftime.
Wausau West scored its first goal against SPASH this season in the 50th minute, making it a 2-1 game. The Panthers shut out the Warriors in the two other games they played each other this season. The offense was the headline in the first half, with the Panthers’ defense clamping up Wausau West in the final 40 minutes.
SPASH travels to take on the No. 1 Hudson Raiders this afternoon at 4 p.m in the regional finals game. The Panthers lost to Hudson in the first game of the season.