FORT WAYNE, In - Over the weekend, the Wildcats traveled down to Purdue Fort Wayne in Indiana to take on Indiana’s top team, the Noblesville Millers. Similar to the Cats, the Millers came into this match undefeated, tallying on eight wins and a draw through their awe-inspiring season. The Wildcats had something to prove here, though, and it didn’t exactly all go to plan.
Not even one minute into the game, Noblesville struck into the Wildcats. After a foul near the touchline, Senior Brayden Doll played a lovely ball into the box, headed in by Brady Horn for a stunning beginning of the match for the Millers. With the Wildcats against the ropes, it was finally time to see how the team would perform down a goal, as this was the first time a team would lead the Cats since September 2020 against Avon Lake.
The Wildcats picked it up in terms of pressure, moving the team further up the pitch, higher pressure after possession losses, and the center backs playing the ball up with more urgency. The Wildcats still kept their calm, just moving to a goal-scoring mindset.
After about eight minutes from the first goal, the Wildcats found an equalizer. Junior Zsombor Onodi dropped into the midfield to receive a pass. He then played a long ball through to Josip Rimac on the left-hand side, who managed to elude the incoming defender and lay in nicely into the bottom corner of the net to draw level.
The half then shifted into more possession-based for Noblesville, with little attacking movement; Moreso focused on the Wildcats, who slowly but surely shifted the momentum into their favor.
Noblesville managed to get a corner with about six minutes remaining in the half, Doll on the kick again. Doll delivered into the area, and once again, Horn found a head on it, soaring over the opposition to capitalize and put Noblesville on top once again.
Although down, the Cats kept impressive composure, still attacking Noblesville’s backline with good chance creations and innovation.
As the final seconds were closing in, the Wildcats managed to get a penalty, as Nolan Spicer was dragged down in the box with just 0:02 on the clock. Despite the ongoing protests from multiple players, senior Luciano Pechota went up to the spot and scored with confidence, right into the bottom corner. The half drew to a chaotic close, Wildcats 2, Millers 2.
As the second half began, the Wildcats let loose, just not letting the tension get to them as they played their regular game, despite the immense pressure on the nationally-ranked affair.
In the 44th minute, the Wildcats drew forward with Onodi playing Spicer through. Spicer got past the defender and buried a lovely shot in an incredible turnaround for the Cats, as the team celebrated vibrantly at the corner flag, 3-2 to the Wildcats now.
The rest of the half was fairly back and forth, the Wildcats gaining a bit more advantage throughout, but still a great showing from the Millers.
With two and a half minutes to go, the Wildcats found themselves on a counter-attack, junior Nathan Trickett played Pechota through, and he was brought down with a mistimed sliding challenge, a nailed-on penalty.
Rimac took this one, also placing it confidently into the back of the net, to put the dagger into the Millers. Two minutes later, the final whistle blew, as the Wildcats won 4-2, moving to 8-0-0 on the season.
On Wednesday, the Wildcats will be back in action at Wasmer Field to take on our rival school, the St. Edward Eagles. Varsity will kick off at 7:00 p.m., which will be an emotional derby match. Stay tuned!