CEDAR RAPIDS — Brody Schilling knew another yellow card meant he would miss the next game due to multiple penalties.
To shield the sophomore defender from further trouble, Iowa City West boys’ soccer coach Brad Stiles moved him to forward for the second half.
The move proved vital as Schilling scored a crucial insurance goal as Class 3A No. 12 West edged 2A No. 1 Cedar Rapids Xavier, 2-1, in a Mississippi Valley Conference boys’ soccer game Thursday at Heco Field.
“I went out there and gave it my best without any fouls,” said Schilling, who was penalized just before halftime. “Luckily, Coleson (Krupp) gave a good ball. I didn’t really have to do much from there, just walk it into the goal.”
West (2-2) opened the season ranked No. 1 in 3A after winning the state championship last season as the 8-seed. The Trojans fell to 12th after losses to sixth-ranked Ankeny and No. 3 Ankeny Centennial last weekend at their tournament.
“I think we’re still trying to find out where we are as a team,” Stiles said. “We haven’t had a lot of training sessions outside and we’re still trying to find our way a little bit. I think today is a step in the right direction.”
In the 50th minute, West junior forward Gada Ambo drove through the Xavier defense along the left end line and drew a foul. The ensuing penalty kick by senior midfielder Harry Zielinski broke the scoreless tie.
“That’s really the first time he’s beaten two or three players in a row,” Stiles said of Ambo. “That’s what we needed.”
Ambo and Schilling — who tacked on his insurance goal less than five minutes later — figure to be key pieces for a West team that lost 75 percent if its scoring from last season due to graduation.
Xavier (0-1) — playing without three-time all-state honoree Will Hanigan as he recovers from offseason back surgery — cut the deficit in half with less than 10 minutes to go in the game on a score from senior Justin Schneider.
“We are a little bit, 10 days, two weeks behind,” Xavier Coach Amir Hadzic said. “In the game, you could see that we were a step slower than we would usually be.”
AT HECO FIELD
Class 3A No, 12 Iowa City West 2, 2A No. 1 Cedar Rapids Xavier 1
Goals — ICW: Harry Zielinski (1), Brody Schilling (1); CRX: Justin Schneider (1).
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