CEDAR RAPIDS— Midway through the season, the No. 4 Iowa City High boys’ soccer team was in a bit of trouble.
After losing a close, emotional game to No. 7 Iowa City West, it dropped two more games in a row — one to No. 1 Cedar Rapids Prairie and another to 2A No. 5 Cedar Rapids Xavier. The team wasn’t exactly panicked, but they needed to string together a few wins.
On Thursday evening, the Little Hawks won their eighth game in a row, a 2-1 decision against No. 15 Cedar Rapids Kennedy. They’ve given up just three goals in that span.
“Even when we lost those three games, we knew the reason, we knew our own mistakes,” Little Hawks head coach Jose Michel Fajardo said. “We were starting to doubt, but I never felt like the team wasn’t starting to not believe in themselves.”
Some of the mistakes again popped up, but for long portions of the night City High looked dominant. They just weren’t able to finish.
Well, except for in overtime, when midfielder John Clark sent a ball into the net just 33 seconds into the period. He cut to the inside and sent it in to finish the regular season with a victory.
“I kind of went tunnel vision near the end, honestly,” Clark said. “Cameron (Chavez) had a nice touch and I just sent it in.”
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A tough game throughout, both teams brought plenty of physicality. Players were routinely hitting the ground and it had all the feel of a state or substate game. It was back and fourth, too. Kennedy nearly won it with 2:40 left, as it got a free kick just outside the box. The Cougars weren’t able to convert, however, and the game went into overtime.
Early on in the match, it looked as if City High (14-3) might run away with the game. They were applying tons of pressure to the Kennedy backline, which eventually broke with 11:22 left in the first half as Ethan teDuits scored his fifth goal of the season off a beautiful pass from Chavez, sending it in from the left side of the box.
Kennedy (9-5) got its lone goal early in the second half, when Yusef Igram sent in a ball during a scrum around the net.
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