UNION TOWNSHIP — The old adage says that a good defense beats a good offense. As Times No. 4 Wheeler proved against Hanover Central on Monday, a good offense will do just fine.
The Bearcats' attack was relentless in a 6-0 victory over the visiting Wildcats as the consistent wave of offense left the Hanover Central defense little-to-no time to breathe.
“We were spreading the field out well, and we’re finding feet well,” Wheeler coach Bryan Murray said. “Between the number of shots we had on goal and just how dynamic were all going forward, I thought we showed what we can do.”
Wheeler sophomore Riley Garcia drew first blood seconds after her team was unable to cash in on its first of six corner kicks. Following the set piece gone awry, Wheeler quickly won possession near the midfield and got the ball to Garcia just outside the box. She did the rest.
Garcia put a charge into a right-footed shot over and beyond a lunging effort from Hanover Central junior goalkeeper Ariana Arce, who at that point already owned four of her 13 stops.
Garcia’s goal broke open the floodgates and junior Lyric Green knocked them over entirely. She doubled the lead just a minute later with the first of her three goals for the still-unbeaten Wheeler.
“It’s fun when you’re playing well in a game like that,” Green said after her hat trick. “Our team was just playing really well. We kept our energy high, we passed the ball well and were just playing well as a team.”
Wheeler’s attack from the opening whistle — junior Lauren Putz forced a save in the opening minute — set the tempo for all 80 minutes. While the Bearcats were hanging numbers on the board, the Wildcats earned few opportunities to answer on the other end of the field.
Wheeler senior goalkeeper Cheyenne Foor earned the victory with two saves.
“It’s tough because when you press somebody you can really get them back on their heels,” Murray said. “Our attack does make people leery of coming forward themselves sometimes because they’ve got to deal with Claudia (Philips), Lyric and Garcia up top.”
The Wildcats defense was tighter in the second half which led to more opportunities with shots on goal.
The gains weren’t enough to keep up with a Wheeler team that Hanover coach Jim Pattison said was just too good to slow down.
“They’ve got a really, really good team,” Pattison said. “One of my comments I made was I think this is a team that can make a deep run. You can see that. I honestly believe this year that Wheeler is going to make a deep run.”