CEDAR RAPIDS — At long last, the Cedar Rapids Prairie boys’ soccer team was able to take the field against someone in a different uniform.
The Class 3A fifth-ranked Hawks overcame a slow start and an early deficit with three second-half goals and defeated Linn-Mar, 3-1, in a Mississippi Valley Conference boys’ soccer game Thursday night at John Wall Field.
“I thought at the beginning we were there, we just didn’t put a couple balls away,” Prairie Coach Curt Lewis said. “We told the boys at halftime, ‘We’re an experienced team, don’t get rattled. There’s another 40 minutes.’”
Prairie (1-0) was set to begin its season last weekend against a challenging field in the Ames Invitational, but weather thwarted the plans.
“We didn’t get a chance to play two games on Saturday, we didn’t get a chance to play in the jamboree,” Lewis said. “We felt like we could give it a 40-minute effort (in the second half).”
Linn-Mar (0-3, 0-1 MVC) got the scoring started with a quick strike from junior forward Kody Waterman off an assist from senior defender Koby Wesselink in the third minute.
The Lions maintained the lead until Prairie junior midfielder Connor Rains’ 35-foot shot deflected off the Linn-Mar defense and into the goal to tie the game less than three minutes into the second half.
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“It’s just getting along with the guys,” said Rains, who added an insurance goal in the 59th minute for a 3-1 Prairie lead. “Having them push me harder.”
Due to a couple of nagging injuries, Rains saw action in just one game during a 19-1 season for Prairie that ended in the state quarterfinal. He seemed destined for a role as one of the first substitutes off the bench this year, but a productive camp landed him a starting spot.
The trio of Prairie all-state players also played a big role in the win. First team all-state forward Matt Walter gave Prairie its first lead with a goal in the 55th minute, while two second team honorees — defender Boston Riley and midfielder Mateus Lewis — each posted an assist.
AT JOHN WALL FIELD
Class 3A No. 5 Cedar Rapids Prairie 3, Linn-Mar 1
Goals — LM: Kody Waterman (1); CRP: Connor Rains 2 (2), Matt Walter (1). Assists — LM: Koby Wesselink (1); CRP: Boston Riley (1), Mateus Lewis (1).
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