DES MOINES — The Waukee boys’ soccer team appears to be following the Iowa City West blueprint.
A year after winning its state-best ninth state championship as an eight seed, No. 5 Iowa City West fell to eighth-seeded Waukee, 2-1, in a Class 3A state semifinal Friday at Cownie Soccer Park.
“They’re well organized,” West Coach Brad Stiles said. “They know how to move the ball and they’ve got some good players.”
The loss snapped a 13-game winning streak for West (18-4), which will play for third place Saturday at 4:10 against Ankeny (16-5). The Hawks were relegated to the third-place game after allowing a 3-0 lead to slip away in the final 30 minutes of an overtime loss to Bettendorf. For the Trojans, this is just their fourth loss in 16 semifinal games in program history.
With over 50 percent of its roster freshmen and sophomores, a loss in the state tournament should prove to be a valuable learning experience for the young Trojans. Five of their top-six goal scorers will return next season.
“Extremely pleased,” Stiles said. “The seniors held us together throughout the year. For these guys to get two extra games at the end of the year, that is a huge benefit for our program going forward.”
The game was scoreless until the 50th minute. Waukee junior Lucas Gutierrez launched a perfectly-placed free kick from 75 feet away to give the Warriors a brief lead.
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It took West just 21 seconds to tie the game, as junior Gada Ambo fed freshman Marko Migamibi for the game-tying score, the fourth goal this season for Migambi.
Waukee (14-5) kept up intense offensive pressure on West over the final 20 minutes of the game. Its aggressiveness paid off in a big way when sophomore Sully Bolles corralled a deflection and drove home the winning score with 7:22 left.
“We just kept on pressuring, following our marks,” Bolles said. “Playing through the midfield, which finally got us a lead for the goal with our crosses and deflections.”
Stiles credits improved substate seeding for the proliferation of state-title contenders coming from the No. 8 line.
“An 8-seed is not a typical 8-seed,” Stiles said. “That’s just better for the tournament in general.”
In its first state-tournament appearance since 2003, Waukee will play for its third state title against Bettendorf (16-2) Saturday at 5.
“When it comes down to it, our boys want to win a state title,” Waukee Coach Carlos Acebey said. “We have to win against however many teams it takes and if we have to play another 10 days, we’re going to play another 10 days. We know to be here, to just enjoy it, is not enough. We’re here to win.”
CLASS 3A STATE SEMIFINAL
No. 8 Waukee 2, No. 5 Iowa City West 1
Goals — WAU: Lucas Gutierrez 1 (4), Sully Bolles 1 (6); ICW: Marko Migambi 1 (4).
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