116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS – Soccer players don't dream of going to state with a goal like this. But no one in white was grumbling on Saturday afternoon.
A Cedar Rapids Prairie own goal in the 63rd minute was the only scoring in a boys' soccer substate final at Kingston Stadium, sending No. 10 Cedar Rapids Washington to next week's state tournament.
Midfielder Augie Bergstrom chipped a ball into the box and it rolled into the far corner off a Prairie defender's attempted sliding clearance.
'I saw Brian (Holt) back post and thought I'd give it a little chip,' Bergstrom said. 'Luckily it went our way.'
The Warriors drew the sixth seed and a quarterfinal date with Iowa City West at 5:15 p.m. Thursday.
The goal was the type of bounce head coach JP Graham has seen go against the Warriors in the past.
'I feel like in my 15 years we've had plenty of bad luck and the ball bounced our way today,' Graham said. 'I told the kids, you work hard and be persistent, sometimes it goes your way.'
The Warriors (13-5) got another fortunate bounce in the dying minutes. Prairie's Boston Riley got on the end of a corner kick, but his header went crashing off the far post and across goal, where it was eventually cleared.
Riley was active all day for the Hawks, sending a couple first-half screamers just over the bar.
They were chances 16th-ranked Prairie (9-9) knew it needed, considering – excluding a 10-goal effort against Waterloo East – it came in averaging just 1.2 goals per game.
'It's been a constant battle for us,' head coach Curt Lewis said. 'We had some opportunities, but I think with our youth and balancing with the older kids, that's been the story of our season.'
Lewis praised his defense, which was aggressive all game, working especially hard against Wash playmakers AJ Patterson and Emmanuel Hidalgo-Wohllben.
Prairie committed 13 fouls, but the Warriors weren't able to take advantage of those set pieces, nor the seven first-half corner kicks it won.
Instead it was Bergstrom and John Henry Green getting most of the touches in midfield. Eventually their efforts going forward paid off on a windy afternoon.
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Then the defense came through, with Max Mondanaro and Patterson among those racing back to win balls from Prairie wingers and help out the back line.
'You can tell, they put a lot of pressure on us and our strength is not defending like that,' Graham said. 'We'd rather play all out, back and forth, play with some offense. Sometimes the game dictates you gotta just defend for a few minutes and they sucked it up and did it.'
Prairie goalkeeper Chase Harrison was shown red in the 78th minute after he was caught 1-on-1 at midfield against Hidalgo-Wohllben and tripped the forward.
Moments after the final whistle, the skies opened, but the Warriors remained on the field. There was a banner to hold up and photos to take. It didn't matter there was no goal-scoring hero.
'We definitely didn't like the feeling last year, losing in double overtime to the state champs (Linn-Mar in the substate final),' Bergstrom said. 'I'm glad we're going back and we'll enjoy state.'
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