Boys Soccer: Versatile Wadowski helps Chesterton top Valpo
Listed next to Josh Wadowski's name on the Chesterton boys soccer roster under position are the letters D, M and F.
"I think he's the only player with all three positions," Trojans coach Lucas Sabedra said of the sophomore. "He can play anywhere."
Wadowski showed his versatility in Wednesday's 2-0 Duneland Athletic Conference win over Valparaiso, punctuating a run from the back third with the game's first goal after Sabedra had moved him from center back to the outside.
"It lets me get up the field more and attack," Wadowski said. "I love it. I'll play wherever coach puts me. As long as I'm playing, I'm happy. I knew I could make a run. I make it all the time in practice. The chemistry on the team is really good. I made a move. We hadn't tested the keeper all game. I knew someone had to make a play. They were knocking on our door (early), we adjusted, played our game, moved the ball around the back, midfield, and found the gaps."
Containing Zack Bowser was priority one for Valparaiso and with the high-scoring striker drawing extra attention, Sabedra made the switch with Wadowski to try to ignite the attack.
"They pressured us right off the bat," Sabedra said. "That (change) shifted our momentum with using our width. We kind of give (Wadowski) free rein when he gets forward on offense. He's really confident in his ability."
Wadowski gained possession on the left side after a long pass from the midfield and his shot caromed in off the Valpo keeper at 29:39.
"I was proud of the way the kids worked," first-year Valpo coach Mike Enghofer said. "I think we matched their intensity. I really thought for the first 20, 30 (minutes), we were better. When you go out and give that effort, if you don't have anything to show for it, then the momentum's going to shift."
About four minutes later, Chesterton keeper Charlie Eaton was tested for the first time and went horizontal to steer aside a left-footed shot from Ethan Brubaker.
"Charlie made some unbelievable saves," Enghofer said. "That's what big time players do."
While the Vikings managed to keep Bowser under
wraps, he was able to connect on one of his few chances, notching a second-half goal to provide the cushion.
"I don't think there's a big gap in our team, everyone's a solid player," Wadowski said. "That's what makes our team so good. Everyone can make plays."
Bowser connected with a right-side shot that he tucked
into the left corner.
"Zack's got an eye for the goal. That's what he wants to do," Sabedra said. "He's not here to pass up those opportunities. They didn't give him much space. He was getting doubled on the side. They had his number the whole time."
"He's one of those players you feel like is going to have his moments, he's just got that quality," Enghofer said of Bowser. "If you can limit him, not make things easy, I think that's a win. He didn't have his way all in all. He found his way on to the stat sheet, but you watch a lot of games, you see him a lot more impactful."
While Valpo didn't pepper Eaton, he made a second big stop late in the match on a hard shot from close range to preserve the margin and the team's third shutout in as many matches.
"Charlie had two major saves that could have easily been goals, but that's who he is," Sabedra said. "He's one of the top goalies in the state. Even though he wasn't shot on much, those amazing saves are what defines him as a goalie."
After 13-0 and 5-0 wins in its first two games, Sabedra was happy to see Chesterton (3-0, 2-0) get a challenge.
"It's the first game we've been tested in a physical match-up against a disciplined defense," he said. "It was good to see what we're capable of. Mike's doing a great job with that group. It seems like they've bought in to everything he's doing. They're a really unified team right now. You could see at the end of the game, at least six kids were cramping on the field. That's when you know it was a good game."
Despite the Vikings (1-1, 1-1) falling to the Trojans for the tenth time in a row, Enghofer was encouraged by his team's effort against the perennial power.
"It's nice to get a test like this early," Enghofer said. "They're the standard in Northwest Indiana. They have been for a while. I thought we made the most of the opportunity. It was a fun game whether you were in green, maroon or neutral. The rivalry's on now. We're just trying to do our part. Of course we didn't get the result we want, but I really think there were some good takeaways."