CEDAR RAPIDS — The rugged portion of the boys’ soccer schedule is here.
With Chase Harrison back in goal full time, Cedar Rapids Prairie appears to be up to the task.
The senior goalkeeper posted his third shutout in a row as the Class 3A fifth-ranked Hawks defeated 2A No. 3 Cedar Rapids Xavier, 3-0, in a Mississippi Valley Conference game Thursday night at John Wall Field.
“It starts with my back line,” Harrison said. “(Defenders Joshua) Grabe, Boston (Riley), Jayce (Smith) and Nolan (Schulte). They all work together and we don’t give up two goals on the year without those four.”
After starting all 18 games as a sophomore, Harrison split time at goalkeeper last season with Max Smith-Drahos and posted seven shutouts in 10 starts as Prairie started the season 19-0 and was ranked No. 1 for the final four weeks of the regular season. With the graduation of Smith-Drahos, Prairie Coach Curt Lewis tabbed Harrison as his full-time goalkeeper.
“We gave up a goal the first couple of games and now they’re more comfortable playing together,” Lewis said of his four defenders and Harrison. “They’re playing with a lot of confidence, they’re communicating. … We knew we would get a solid effort in goal this season from Chase.”
Thursday night was the first of four consecutive games against ranked foes for Prairie (5-0, 5-0 MVC), which plays seventh-ranked Washington Tuesday at Kingston Stadium. The Hawks visit No. 4 Iowa City High April 26 before hosting defending Class 3A state champion and ninth-ranked Iowa City West April 30, the team that eliminated the Hawks from last year’s state tournament.
“Hopefully we get through it,” Prairie junior Mateus Lewis said. “I think we have a good chance, but one game at a time. We’ve got to read the scouting report and I think the coaches got us. They’ve got us going in the right direction.”
Mateus Lewis opened the scoring with a 90-foot strike off an assist by junior Andrew Russell in the 13th minute. Smith followed with a goal 12 minutes later that gave Prairie a 2-0 lead. Harrison preserved the two-score lead with a diving save of a Xavier penalty kick in the 28th minute.
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“With (Xavier midfielder) Thomas (Bean), I knew his spot from playing against him in club,” Harrison said. “I just got a good read. It was a fantastic shot by him. I just got a finger on it and it stayed out.”
Riley — a Wis.-Platteville signee and second team all-state honoree last season — capped the scoring with a goal in the 57th minute.
Xavier is now 1-3, both overall and in the MVC.
AT JOHN WALL FIELD
Class 3A No. 5 Cedar Rapids Prairie 3, 2A No. 3 Cedar Rapids Xavier 0
Goals — Mateus Lewis 1 (1), Jayce Smith 1 (2), Boston Riley 1 (1). Assist — Andrew Russell 1 (1).
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