John Bruce, Contributor
COLUMBUS — Sometimes, all it takes is a meeting at the water cooler.
Through the first 20 minutes of Unioto’s season opener against Hamilton Township, the two teams were about as even as you could be.
Then came the officially mandated water break and, four rapid-fire Unioto scores over the final 20 minutes of the first half pretty much wrapped up a season-opening road victory.
Immediately after said water break, junior defender Carson DeBord got the scoring started after a corner kick by Ethan Kerns. DeBord won a scramble in the box and found the left side netting, which became a familiar place for the ball to end up.
Less than two minutes later, senior forward Vijay Wangui got a career day started as he found the left side of the net thanks to a brilliant through pass from Jayce Wingo. Wangui found the net two more times in the first half, his second coming on a penalty kick and the final coming on another assist from Wingo, to give the Shermans a 4-0 advantage at halftime.
“The team just communicated really well overall,” Wangui said. “Whenever it gets going, I just feel uplifted and I feel like the team is around me and I can play off of them. It just builds off of everyone.”
Coming out of the half, the Rangers (0-1) upped their intensity, but couldn’t get anything going against the Shermans’ backline.
Using the talented, albeit inexperienced group, the Shermans (1-0) held the Rangers to only seven attempts at the goal throughout the game with only four being on target. Freshman Micah Geise corralled each of those four shots.
Each player on the Tanks’ defense was starting their first career game on the backline. Asher McBee, Ashton Sigler, Carson DeBord, and JC Stark, along with senior Noah Meade shifting from midfield to defense on occasion, had an outstanding game as a quintet.
Geise, a freshman, showed the poise of a veteran in goal as well.
Making things easier for the Shermans’ backline was the outstanding ability to win 50-50 balls by midfielders Wingo, Kerns, and Gage Stout.
Finishing off the scoring on the day was Kerns, and this time, Wangui was the one passing out the assist. Kerns followed suit as each of the Shermans’ five goals ended up snuggled in the left side netting.
The Shermans return to the pitch on Tuesday night at Hillsboro. Unioto defeated the Indians 7-3 in last season’s contest.
NOTES: Hamilton Township won last season’s meeting 4-3 and was coming off an appearance in the district semifinals … HT won the junior varsity contest 4-3 … Wangui, Kerns, and Stout were all All-Southeast District players a year ago … Unioto finished last season with a 7-6-2 record and a loss in the sectional championship game.
19:58 — Carson DeBord (Ethan Kerns)
17:18 — Vijay Wangui (Jayce Wingo)
10:12 — Wangui (penalty kick)
2:55 — Wangui (Wingo)
9:30 — Kerns (Wangui)
Shots — Unioto 20, Hamilton Township 7
Shots on Goal — Unioto 10, Hamilton Township 4
Saves — Unioto 4 (Geise 4), Hamilton Township 5
Fouls — Unioto 7, Hamilton Township 8
Corner Kicks — Unioto 3, Hamilton Township 4
Offsides — Unioto 1, Hamilton Township 0