116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — The thing about this Mississippi Division boys’ soccer race in the Mississippi Valley Conference is that a disappointing result or two can be made up for later.
Iowa City High took that opportunity Friday.
The 14th-ranked Little Hawks started 1-2 in the division, but ended 11th-ranked Prairie’s six-game win streak, 2-1 after a 4-2 penalty shootout on the City High turf.
“We were not getting the results of the work we are doing,” City High (7-5) coach Jose Fajardo said. “Every game that we have had, we are making some mistakes on both ends and it’s costing us getting the result that we deserve. Today did a lot to change that for our side, which it’s about time.”
The best opportunity on the attack came early for the Little Hawks, and Emmit Hansen didn’t let it go to waste. A goalkeeper handball outside the top of the box gave Hansen a free kick that he buried for a 1-0 lead.
Unlike previous division losses to Linn-Mar and Cedar Falls, City High held firm going into the break. But Prairie (11-3) tied it up on a rebound via freshman Drew DeSmidt with 14:24 to go. Ben Horwitz hit the crossbar for the Little Hawks a few minutes later and both teams kept pushing into overtime, but PKs were needed.
That was the type of opportunity Malachi Nye wanted.
City High’s senior goalkeeper was disappointed in himself in a 2-1 loss to Muscatine last month in which the Muskies converted all seven of their spot kicks. Here, Nye came up with back-to-back saves to stop half of Prairie’s attempts and close out the victory.
“I really knew I had to step it up here,” Nye said. “Just playing with these guys, they’re like family, so it’s just awesome to actually achieve this. This is a great win.”
With four teams ranked from No. 10 to No. 16 in this division and another in Cedar Falls that probably should be, projecting a champion before the end of the regular season on May 17 is risky business. Just this Tuesday, Prairie had taken a big step to the top of the division with a 1-0 win over No. 10 Iowa City Liberty.
Liberty itself rebounded on Friday with a 2-0 win at home over Cedar Falls. That sets up a four-way tie atop the division with Cedar Falls, Liberty, Linn-Mar and Prairie all 3-1 and City High and Cedar Rapids Washington a game back.
“We recovered well,” Fajardo said. “We had our chances. It’s that task of not allowing goals, at least not easy goals.”