CEDAR RAPIDS - Cedar Rapids Jefferson was anxious to see if 2016 would be a year of reconstruction or merely a reload.
Against an experienced Pleasant Valley team, the J-Hawks learned they have a ways to go.
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CEDAR RAPIDS — Jefferson came out with a fury that wasn’t evident last week in its regular-season finale.
The J-Hawks’ boys’ soccer team came out firing shot after shot at Burlington, dominated possession and was rewarded with a 3-0 substate quarterfinal victory Tuesday.
The J-Hawks (6-12) play at defending champion Iowa City West at 6 p.m. Thursday in the semifinal. Burlington ended its season 6-10-1.
“We had a mindset that we’d just attack,” Jefferson junior forward Jacob Chiza said. “Don’t slow down, just keep pushing the ball and shoot, pressure the ball and don’t give the defenders any time.”
It wasn’t merely an attack that saw the J-Hawks fire shots at will, but it was a group of players who consistently got to the ball ahead of the Grayhounds and knew what to do with it.
“I bet we won the ball 70 percent of the time,” Jefferson’s Jordan Hawkins said. “We hustled today, and we showed today we can be a team that can go far in this tournament.”
As a result, the J-Hawks hardly ever let the Grayhounds connect on more than one pass. They forced turnovers continually and thus interrupted any chance at a counter attack by Burlington.
Hawkins scored the first goal 21 minutes into the first half.
“It was a cross from the right side from Eli (Sarantakos),” he said. “(Austin) Schumacher clipped it, and then I was just right there and sent it right there into the corner. Once we got that first goal we kept on making goals for ourselves. We played as a team, not as individuals.”
Chiza scored the second goal, just 3 minutes into the second half on a cross from Carter Schmitz.
“We wanted to come out here hungry, aggressive and with speed,” Chiza said.
The Grayhounds were a bit disorganized in the back and couldn’t get in front of the shot. Schumacher scored the third goal with 2:14 left to play.
“We did some things we wanted to do in terms of we wanted to set the pace and set the tone,” Jefferson Coach John O’Connor said. “We didn’t shoot like we wanted to, but we pushed the game. Probably 95 percent of the play today was in their half.”
“We just wanted to defend our home field,” Hawkins said. “I mean we got beat by Washington here last week, so we wanted to come out here and make a statement.”