Once the Whiteland boys soccer team gets to full strength, it will be dangerous. But even without some key players, the Warriors are still formidable, as Greenwood found out Thursday afternoon.
A four-goal barrage in the second half was more than enough for host Whiteland to blast Greenwood, 5-1, in an all-important Mid-State Conference tilt.
“We’ve been battling COVID like other teams have and also some injuries,” Whiteland coach Justin VanHorn said. “We were missing our starting goalkeeper (Nolan Ferguson), but our backup, Lal Rin Ralte, stepped up today and had a phenomenal game.”
So did senior Tristan Thomas, who had back-to-back goals in the second half that led to the Warriors’ onslaught.
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Not only was there senior leadership, but there was some freshman influence, too.
J.D. Lompo, the only freshman on the Whiteland roster, opened up the scoring in the fifth minute of play, taking a long pass, heading the ball over Greenwood goalie Konner Winn, and flicking the ball in the net.
“He’s going to be great for us in the future,” VanHorn said.
Whiteland did get a bit careless less than 10 minutes later, when Greenwood had a freshman of its own score.
Fabian Martin did the honors for the Woodmen. Martin’s goal was also the first of the year for Greenwood (0-2), which was blanked 4-0 by Franklin last week.
That was it until Thomas’ goals, which happened within five minutes of each other.
Also scoring for the Warriors were seniors Jakob Beaulieu and Ethan Snipes, who headed the ball in off a corner.
We put it together, came out of the half strong and finished it off,” VanHorn said. “A pretty good performance and we got some younger guys minutes, so that’s an awesome night all around.”
After getting blanked in consecutive 4-0 losses to Plainfield and Seymour, Whiteland (2-2-1, 1-1-0) has scored 11 goals while only conceding one in two straight wins.
“I think we’re starting to put it together,” VanHorn said. “We started the year with the hardest part of our schedule, and with two of our starters coming back, we could get better.”
Although the Woodmen were outgunned, Greenwood coach Dan Weber is still optimistic about the season.
“We’re a real young team and they did a lot of the right things, but they have to get better at doing them,” he said. “We’ll get better and I’m excited. Everybody played well and we’re playing more as a team than we have in the past.”
Up next for Whiteland is Decatur Central on Tuesday. Greenwood faces Herron next Wednesday.