116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — Aidan Lerch jumped to get his head on a clearance and heard the cue from Cedar Rapids Prairie teammate Max Egger.
“I saw Lerch and I was like, ’flick, flick, flick!’” Egger said.
Lerch got the perfect weight on his flick, then Egger ran behind the Linn-Mar defense to collect the ball, steadied himself and scored to give the No. 2-ranked Hawks a 1-0 lead in the 47th minute. The only goal in a Class 3A boys’ soccer substate semifinal at John Wall Field Monday night was a replica of a play the two have perfected.
“We work on that all the time,” Egger said. “Summer, fall, we worked on that a lot together.”
Working together is what this Prairie team has been all about.
Peruse the Class 3A leaders in goals and you have to do a lot of scrolling to find a Hawk. Egger scored his sixth against the Lions (7-10). Lerch, Will Vileta and Gavin Lewis are co-team leaders with seven. They don’t rank in the top 70 individually, but Prairie hasn’t needed a go-to scorer to get to 14-2 with a substate final Wednesday against Cedar Rapids Kennedy up next.
“We’re a team through and through,” Lerch said. “We don’t have a bunch of individuals. We’re going to get the job done as a team.”
Egger said his senior classmate Lerch was often the top scorer growing up, but they’ve struck more of a balance in high school.
“That makes us better as a team,” Egger said. “It’s hard to scout us that way.”
Two weeks ago, Egger scored the game-tying goal against Linn-Mar as the Hawks rallied to win in penalties after falling behind 2-0.
There was less drama Monday against a Linn-Mar team that’s better than its record, having won four of its last six coming in with the only losses in penalties.
The shots difference was just 13-10 in favor of Prairie, but the Hawks achieved what they wanted by pressing their forwards high and denying Linn-Mar possession.
Prairie Coach Curt Lewis was confident his team could hold the Lions scoreless here and preached “patience” with the game scoreless at halftime.
“I think the success that these guys have had, they’ve been a real team,” Lewis said. “We don’t have that one standout player but we have a great group of guys. They buy in and they give it their all every single time.”