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CEDAR RAPIDS — When the IHSSCA boys’ soccer rankings were released early Tuesday, some wondered if Cedar Rapids Prairie might stand atop all others in Class 3A.
The undefeated Hawks — slotted second behind defending state champion but twice-beaten West Des Moines Valley — still have work to do to claim the top spot.
“It’s a Metro game. It’s an MVC game. Nothing is going to be easy,” Prairie Coach Curt Lewis said after the Hawks blanked No. 12 Cedar Rapids Washington, 1-0, in a Mississippi Valley Conference game Tuesday night at John Wall Field. “We told our guys, ‘If we can keep a shutout, we always have a chance to get that one.’ That’s what happened.”
Shutouts have been the norm this season for Prairie (10-0, 6-0 MVC). Lewis has implemented a game-by-game goalkeeper rotation that features junior Chase Harrison and senior Max Smith-Drahos, who is making his varsity soccer debut. After allowing 27 goals during a 9-9 season last year, the Hawks have held opponents without a goal in seven of 10 contests and allowed just five overall.
“Coming out here and shooting for that title of just no goals personally,” said Harrison, who has not allowed a goal through four starts. “Amazing. He’s done a phenomenal job, I’ve done my best and it’s working out really well.”
The match was scoreless until the 59th minute when Prairie junior Boston Riley fielded a left-corner kick from sophomore Caleb Halleran and headed the ball past Washington reserve goalkeeper Erik Lenzen, who entered the game in the 43rd minute after starter Isaac Keppler left the game with an apparent leg injury.
“Me and Caleb made eye contact,” Riley said. “He just played that perfect ball in. It came right to my head into the side netting. We like to put two on the ball so it draws some defenders out. We want to loft the ball up so someone can put the ball in.”
The goal was the third this season for Riley, while Halleran’s eighth assist ranks third in Class 3A.
After a 3-0 start and a No. 2 ranking two weeks ago, the Warriors (5-5) have lost five of seven games.
“We’re missing just that final touch or pass or that tenacity to score goals against the better teams in the state,” Washington Coach J.P. Graham said. “Every team we’ve lost to has been ranked in the top five, and that’s the way it goes.”
Both teams return to the field on Thursday. Prairie hosts seventh-ranked Iowa City High, while Washington entertains Dubuque Senior at Kingston Stadium.
AT JOHN WALL FIELD
No. 2 Cedar Rapids Prairie 1, No. 12 Cedar Rapids Washington 0
Goal — Boston Riley; Assist — Caleb Halleran.
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