MARION — Last season was the first time in four years that Linn-Mar failed to reach the boys’ soccer state tournament.
Longtime Linn-Mar Coach Corey Brinkmeyer is trying to find the right combination of leaders and players to return.
“We’re still trying to kind of figure out who we are,” Brinkmeyer said after the Lions won two 60-minute games at the fifth and final Linn-Mar Challenger Cup Invitational Saturday at Linn-Mar Stadium. “We’ve got some guys that are stepping up. We’ve got a lot to work on, still. We’re a young team, a lot of new faces but for the most part, I think we’re starting to figure some things out. What works, what doesn’t work. We’ve got a little bit of an uphill battle, still.”
The Lions (2-3) opened the season with losses to three ranked Class 3A teams, including a Thursday game at fifth-ranked Cedar Rapids Prairie in which Linn-Mar led for 40 minutes. Saturday began with a 6-0 rout of Mount Vernon, followed by a shutout of 1A No. 8 West Liberty, 3-0.
“This gives us a little bit of momentum, which is nice,” Brinkmeyer said. “We know that the competition is not going to slow down any, so it’s good for us just to get a couple of wins and get a little bit of momentum going.”
Senior Grant Wagner has earned a starting spot on the front line this season. He posted two goals against Mount Vernon and a third against West Liberty.
“My teammates were playing me good balls in,” Wagner said. “Just good give and gos.”
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Linn-Mar reserve forward Andrew Christopher also scored twice against Mount Vernon, while senior midfielder Obed Micomyzia had an assist in the first game and the opening goal of the second.
Juniors Ryan Johnson and Alejandro Rodriguez also scored goals in the Mount Vernon game.
Junior forward Kody Waterman and sophomore forward Brandon Raus had an assist in both games, while team captain Koby Wesselink notched a goal in the second game for the Lions.
In the other games, West Liberty lost to Cedar Falls, 3-0, while Mount Vernon was shelled by Muscatine, 8-0.
AT LINN-MAR STADIUM
Linn-Mar Challenger Cup
Linn-Mar 6, Mount Vernon 0
Goals — Grant Wagner 2 (2), Andrew Christopher 2 (2), Ryan Johnson (1), Alejandro Rodriguez (1). Assists — Kody Waterman (1), Cole Williams (1), Obed Micomyzia (1), Austin Brinning (1), Brandon Raus (1).
Linn-Mar 3, West Liberty 0
Goals — Obed Micomyzia (1), Grant Wagner (3), Koby Wesselink (1). Assists — Kody Waterman (2), Brandon Raus (2).
Cedar Falls 3, West Liberty 0
Muscatine 8, Mount Vernon 0
Cedar Falls 2, Muscatine 0
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