CEDAR RAPIDS — The wins keep coming, but the best may still be to come.
The Class 3A seventh-ranked Cedar Rapids Washington boys’ soccer team overcame the loss of two pivotal starters and won its seventh game in a row, 2-1 in a shootout, over No. 4 Iowa City High in a Mississippi Valley Conference boys’ soccer game Monday at Kingston Stadium.
“We kind of had to just absorb pressure and wait for our chances,” Washington Coach J.P. Graham said.
It was the third win over a ranked team for Washington (7-1, 4-0 MVC), which dropped its season opener to third-ranked Ankeny Centennial.
The Warriors were led by junior Keaton Woods, a 6-foot-1 forward with a dazzling combination of speed and dribbling ability. His strike in the 21st minute gave Washington a 1-0 lead.
“My movement has gotten a lot better and my passing,” said Woods, a first team all-state honoree last season who posted 16 goals and nine assists in 17 games. “So I can get it to a teammate and get it right back so I can beat the defender with the dribble.”
Woods leads the state with 22 goals in eight games and also leads Washington with eight assists. He sprinted past the City High defense with several opportunities for an insurance goal but was unable to convert.
“Keaton is a special player because he trains all year round and he always wants to get better,” Graham said. “The thing people don’t know about him is he is constantly working through the summertime with me. He wants to be as good as the greats.”
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With 9:05 left in regulation, City High (6-1, 3-1 MVC) tied the game when sophomore Noah Bullwinkle fielded a deflection off Washington freshman goalkeeper Will Bickel and punched in his fourth goal of the season.
Bickel started his first game in place of injured senior Isaac Kepler. Washington was also without senior defender Andrew Hammer — another first team all-state performer last season in addition to MVC Athlete of the Year — during regulation and two scoreless 10-minute overtime periods.
Both would have a hand in the shootout victory.
With the penalty kicks knotted at 4-4, Hammer limped up to the penalty-kick line and converted a fifth for Washington. After surrendering four penalty kicks in a row, Bickel made a sliding save of City High’s fifth attempt.
“I just picked a side and went for it,” Bickel said.
Hammer is expected back when Washington visits Cedar Rapids Jefferson on Thursday, while City High hosts 10th-ranked Iowa City West Friday at the University of Iowa.
“We can compete with any team out there,” Woods said. “We can beat any team out there in our minds, at least. Just as long as we play well and we play together, we’ll be fine.”
AT KINGSTON STADIUM
Class 3A No. 7 Cedar Rapids Washington 2, No. 4 Iowa City High 1
(Washington won shootout, 5-4)
Goals — CRW: Keaton Woods 1 (22); ICH: Noah Bullwinkle 1 (4).
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