MARION - As the prep volleyball season nears the midway point, Cedar Rapids Xavier identified a vital ingredient if the Saints are to retain their No. 1 ranking in Class 4A.
Now is the time to turn up the defense.
The top-ranked Saints s ... »
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IOWA CITY — Coaches tend to possess very long memories.
When Cedar Rapids Prairie boys’ soccer coach Curt Lewis thought back four years to the last time his Hawks were atop the Class 3A rankings, he remembered what immediately came next.
A loss at Iowa City West that started a four-game losing streak.
With goals from three different players, Prairie ensured history would not repeat itself and celebrated its new No. 1 ranking with a 3-1 defeat of the fifth-ranked Trojans in a Mississippi Valley Conference match Tuesday night at Barker Field.
“We just wanted to be able to be competitive,” Lewis said. “I think we were very competitive tonight.”
Prairie (12-0, 8-0 MVC) scored less than three minutes into the contest when senior midfielder Joel Collett delivered a perfectly-placed right corner kick that junior defender Boston Riley headed into the net. It was the fourth goal this season for Riley and his second header off a corner kick in three games.
“Some of our success this year has been scoring first,” Lewis said.
West (8-3, 5-3) knotted the match at a score apiece in the 14th minute when senior Alex Andersen took advantage of some defensive miscommunication and slipped the ball past Prairie goalkeeper Chase Harrison for his team-high eighth score this season. The goal was the first surrendered by Harrison in five starts.
Momentum significantly flipped to Prairie seconds before halftime when junior defender Matt Walter fielded an assist from defender Nolan Schulte and converted his team-high 10th goal — which ranks eighth in 3A — that delivered the Hawks to the halftime huddle with a 2-1 lead. Sophomore forward Matt Russell provided some crucial insurance with his fifth score of the season in the 55th minute with an assist from defender Colin Conrad.
“I was just kind of making the runs that I was supposed to be making,” Russell said. “A couple slip-ups by defenders and I just put it in. I knew that it was going to go in right when I let it off my foot.”
Prairie visits Cedar Falls on Friday, while West hosts Waterloo East.
AT BARKER FIELD
No. 1 Cedar Rapids Prairie 3, No. 5 Iowa City West 1
Goals — CRP: Boston Riley, Matt Walter, Andrew Russell; ICW: Alex Andersen. Assists — CRP: Joel Collett, Nolan Schulte, Colin Conrad; ICW: Patrick Shirazi.
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