“Ladies and gentlemen, step right up and witness one of the greatest shows on earth.”
That cry was one that emanated from circuses, carnivals and big tops around the nation, but on Saturday, Sept. 15 at Hudson, it was announcing the arrival of one Nicky Waldeck, soccer player extraordinaire.
Waldeck scored three times in the first 10 minutes, and threw in an assist for good measure, then knocked in two goals midway through the second half, and Hiland simply could do little to stop the senior sharpshooter.
“Number nine isn’t a bad player,” said Hiland coach Jesse Wengerd, with a massive hint of sarcasm rolling off his tongue. “She is a complete player. An athlete who is poised and talented. She was a dominant force and we had no answer for her.”
Considering that the Lady Hawks were down 4-0 just 10 minutes into the game, Hiland actually settled in on the speedy artificial turf and began playing better.
Wengerd said that in games like this one you look for little positives where they can be found, and he said that the way his defense began to disrupt the flow of the Pioneers offense was certainly one place to look.
“We started to be disruptive on defense and they got a little frustrated after that big start,” said Wengerd. “I thought we did a pretty good job of competing once we got past that first huge run. We played much better in the second half and did some good things, especially on defense.”
The statistics definitely were skewed in Western Reserve’s favor, the Pioneers (6-1) taking 21 shots to Hiland’s one and winning the battle of corner kicks 12-1. However after stepping in for keeper Mackenzie Miller midway through the first half after Miller got kneed in the head, Beth Boyles sparkled in goal, and Hiland’s defense buckled down, as Wengerd continued to point out some of the little things that mean something in a lopsided loss.
“Sometimes it’s finding little victories inside the bigger game that can help you improve and get better,” said Wengerd. “We had some nice moments today. Beth really came in and did a nice job in goal. They are a very talented team and their first touches were fantastic, but we were able to start getting in their passing lanes and deflected a lot of balls. We hung in there when we could have just quit, against a team that is probably as good as any we will face this year.”
Who knows, if it weren’t for the side show freak number nine, maybe it would have been a different story. But there is a reason the carnival barker calls it the greatest show on earth, and on this day, Nicky Waldeck was all of that and more, delivering, just like the barker said.