Northwestern off to hot start with familiar face on sidelines

After more than two decades away from high school soccer, Andrew Wildman is back in charge of the Northwestern High School soccer team.

The Warriors head coach previously coached the Warriors from 1994 to 1997, one of the winningest runs in school history. Northwestern won multiple district titles and advanced to the regional finals in 1996.

»RELATED: Wednesday’s high school roundup

»RELATED: Wednesday’s high school scoreboard

“We had a pretty good run,” Wildman said.

He’s been coaching club soccer since that time, he said.

“It’s good,” Wildman said. “Obviously a lot has changed, but it’s good. It’s fun.

The Warriors are off to a strong start, improving with 6-1-1 and a 3-0-1 start in the Central Buckeye Conference Mad River Division with a 5-1 victory over Shawnee on Monday. Senior Jeremy Howard and junior Dalton McGill each had two goals, while Logan Wildman added a goal.

“First half we did well, second half we laid down,” Wildman said. “I’m not real pleased with the way we played in the second half, but we were on the front foot in the first half. The boys were knocking the ball around well, taking care of the ball, finding the forward passes when we needed to.”

Northwestern is gunning for its third straight CBC Mad River title. The Warriors have won 10 games each of the last two seasons.

“We have high hopes for this group,” Wildman said. “The expectations are high. We have to continue to play united. If we can do that, we’ll be successful.”

The Warriors put a heavy emphasis on possession and taking care of the ball, he said. Matches are won controlling the middle of the park, Wildman said. McGill has 12 goals for the Warriors, while Howard has nine goals.

“We really want to build our attack in front of the frame, pulling the defense away from the frame and then get at them,” he said.

The Warriors face a tough stretch against Greeneview and Jonathan Alder in its next two games. Northwestern beat rival Tecumseh on Wednesday night in a matchup of two first-place teams in the CBC.

Northwestern also has high hopes for advancing back to the district finals. Last year, the No. 3-seeded Warriors fell to top-seeded Bellefontaine in a shootout.

“We have potential,” Wildman said. “As long as we continue to play united and we continue lift each other and work hard. That’s the big thing: We’ve got to do the work. I think we can make a pretty good run. It’s up to them.”

Tiger Up: The West Liberty-Salem boys soccer team is 6-0 and 3-0 in the Ohio Heritage Conference — the Tigers' best start since 2014.

Statistically, they’re led by the three top scorers in the Ohio Heritage Conference: Ethan Cole (8 goals, 9 assists), Ian Wolfe (10 goals, 1 assist) and Jacob VanHorn (8 goals, 2 assists).

Collision course: The Tecumseh (7-1-1) and Jonathan Alder (6-2-0) girls teams are on a collision course in the CBC Kenton Trail Division.

Both teams are 4-0 in the league. They’ll face off in New Carlisle on Oct. 1.

The Arrows have won four straight since falling to Miamisburg 4-0 on Sept. 8.

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