CEDAR RAPIDS - The Cedar Rapids Xavier boys' tennis team embodies the Bible verse, #x201c;as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.#x201d;
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MARION — It was a lofting strike, the type that is almost impossible for a goalkeeper to stop.
The ball left Linn-Mar’s Hannah Garcia’s foot at the 13:19 mark, slamming it in the back of the goal, past the outstretched arms of Cedar Rapids Washington’s Ashley Hageman. It gave the Lions the lead and allowed them to leave the confines of their own field with a 1-0 win Thursday night, moving them to 2-0 in the young season.
“Abigail (Santana) crossed it, Piper Carey laid off of it and I saw it was open, so I took the shot,” Garcia said. “Feels good against a good team, a nice win.”
It really seemed like it was only a matter of time before the Lions would get one in for a goal.
Linn-Mar pressured the Warriors hard for most of the game, constantly attacking the Warriors defense. On the flip side, the Lions were able to clear the ball out near their own goal more often than not, leading to opportunities on offense.
While neither team was really able to get itself in a dangerous position in the first half, that all changed during the last 20 minutes of the game.
Santana had a great shot on goal at the 19:35 mark and a corner three minutes later nearly netted the team a score. But they weren’t able to finish a play until Garcia’s excellent play late in the game.
“We felt towards the end we were getting into a rhythm,” Linn-Mar head coach Marco de Leon said. “Once you start doing that, some opportunities come from that.”
It was a huge flip from the performance of the Warriors from earlier in the week, when they thoroughly dominated Xavier in Kingston. The Saints had no answer for the Washington forwards in that game.
The Lions did.
“They always come to play, we knew it was going to be a tough game against them,” de Leon said. “We kept pressing them.”
A good win for the Lions, as Washington was coming off two straight wins over ranked opponents. The Saints are ranked fifth in Class 2A and the Warriors also beat Class 1A No. 2 Iowa City Regina.
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