IOWA CITY — True to its tradition, the Iowa City West boys’ soccer team is playing its best ball as the postseason looms.
Sophomore Brody Schilling and junior Gada Ambo each scored second-half goals as the Class 3A seventh-ranked Trojans won their ninth game in a row, 2-0, over No. 8 Cedar Rapids Washington in a Mississippi Valley Conference game Tuesday night at Barker Field.
“We definitely shuffled some guys around and we’ve got our legs underneath us,” West Coach Brad Stiles said. “We’ve got a little bit of leadership coming from the upperclassmen now. I’m a little surprised it’s nine in a row, but that makes me happy.”
West (14-3, 11-1 MVC) won its state-best ninth state championship last season despite being seeded eighth. The Trojans lost 75 percent of their scoring production, so the emergence of a speedster like Ambo, who leads the team with nine goals this season, has been instrumental to this year’s success.
“At the beginning of the season, I wasn’t sure if I could dribble,” Ambo said. “Coach said, ‘You have the freedom to dribble.’ It just gave me confidence to do whatever I needed to do in the game to win.”
After a scoreless first half, Schilling got the Trojans on the scoreboard in the 47th minute with his third goal of the season. After sophomore goalkeeper Grant Henderson turned the Warriors (12-4, 9-3) away during a frenetic penalty-kick exchange, Ambo provided the insurance goal off a Schilling assist with just over 15 minutes left in the game.
“Well, practice I’ve just been working hard,” said Henderson, who has allowed one goal in four starts this season. “I know that I can do it and I know my teammates believe in me and I just have the trust of everyone around me. That’s all that matters.”
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West closes the regular season with a home game Thursday against Waterloo West. The Trojans open substate play at home on May 23 with a semifinal against the winner of Western Dubuque and Dubuque Hempstead. Win there, and the Trojans will likely need to get past Washington or No. 12 Kennedy to earn an 18th state-tournament berth in 19 years.
“Keep going hard,” Ambo said. “Fight, no matter what. We’re not done yet.”
AT BARKER FIELD
Class 3A No. 7 Iowa City West 2, No. 8 Cedar Rapids Washington 0
Goals — Brody Schilling 1 (3), Gada Ambo 1 (9). Assist — Brody Schilling 1 (4).
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