IOWA CITY — Last season, the Iowa City High boys’ soccer team allowed its first loss to morph into three in a row.
Four days ago, the Class 3A No. 4 Little Hawks suffered their first loss of 2018. City High coaches and players were anxious to show that a loss on penalty kicks to seventh-ranked Cedar Rapids Washington would not take away from preparation for crosstown rival Iowa City West.
“The West game is always something that we look forward to as a team,” City High sophomore Noah Bullwinkle said after scoring the winning goal in the 58th minute of a 2-1 victory over the ninth-ranked Trojans in a Mississippi Valley Conference game Friday night at the University of Iowa Soccer Complex. “It’s hard to come off a loss like that, but we just try to get it in practice and focus on the next game. That’s what soccer is all about.”
City High senior John Clark broke a scoreless tie in the 48th minute with his seventh goal of the season off an assist from returning 3A second team all-state selection Jonah Dancer.
“It was just stuff that we go over in practice,” Clark said. “Make tight runs. Make them inside, make them outside. Make different runs, make it hard for the defenders to tell what you’re going to do. Don’t be predictable.”
The Little Hawks had little time to savor the hard-fought lead as West junior forward Gada Ambo tied the game two minutes later.
“It’s really hard to get back in the game after you go up 1-0 and they score a goal,” Bullwinkle said. “We just try and stay confident and get focused on getting the game won.”
A crossing pass from Clark deflected off West goalkeeper Zachary Albright and found the foot of Bullwinkle for the go-ahead score for City High (7-1, 4-1 MVC).
West fell to 5-3 overall, 4-1 in the MVC.
“It was one of those games like always,” City High Coach Jose Michel Fajardo said. “Very difficult to play because of the emotions and everything. I think we came out stronger in the second half.”
City High hosts two more ranked opponents in 2A No. 3 Cedar Rapids Xavier (Tuesday) and 3A No. 5 Cedar Rapids Prairie (Thursday).
AT UNIVERSITY OF IOWA SOCCER COMPLEX
Class 3A No. 4 Iowa City High 2, No. 9 Iowa City West 1
Goals — ICH: John Clark 1 (7), Noah Bullwinkle 1 (5); ICW: Gada Ambo 1 (5). Assist — ICH: Jonah Dancer 1 (3).
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