SPORTS

Boys' soccer 2019: Teams, players to watch

10 all-state players and a defending state championship team highlight the area field

Cedar Rapids Prairie’s Mateaus Lewis (9) struggles for the ball with Cedar Rapids Xavier’s Micheal Glavan (18) and Benjamin Conrad (3) during the first half of a game at Prairie High School in Cedar Rapids on Thursday, April 19, 2018. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
Cedar Rapids Prairie’s Mateaus Lewis (9) struggles for the ball with Cedar Rapids Xavier’s Micheal Glavan (18) and Benjamin Conrad (3) during the first half of a game at Prairie High School in Cedar Rapids on Thursday, April 19, 2018. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
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Teams

(2018 record; postseason finish)

Cedar Rapids Kennedy (11-6, 3A substate finalist) — Coach Adrian Evans and the Cougars got within a game of reaching the 2018 state tournament. The Cougars return 70 percent of their goal scorers, led by Marquette commit Alan Kim (11).

Cedar Rapids Prairie (14-2, 3A state quarterfinalist) — The Hawks have reached the state tournament in three of the last four years, but have yet to break through and win a game. Coach Curt Lewis and Prairie have won an MVC division title in each of the last two seasons and bring back a trio of talented goal scorers in seniors Caleb Halleran (11 goals last season), Mateaus Lewis (14) and Andrew Russell (10).

Cedar Rapids Washington (13-5, 3A substate semifinalist) — Coach J.P. Graham and the Warriors have the talent to win a state championship, but have been undone in each of the last two seasons in a substate semifinal. Two-time all-state senior Keaton Woods (26 goals last season) returns after beginning the school year with an MLS Academy team in Utah.

Cedar Rapids Xavier (10-9, 2A state semifinalist) — Coach Amir Hadzic has led the Saints to the state tournament in each of the last 10 seasons. Xavier suffered significant losses to graduation, but return leading scorer Andrija Mijatovic (18 goals, nine assists), a second-year exchange student from Croatia.

Dyersville Beckman (12-7, 1A substate finalist) — Last season, the Blazers missed the state tournament for the first time in seven years by dropping a substate final against 1A juggernaut Iowa City Regina. Coach Mirek Laskowski lost half of his goal-scoring production from last season, but does return goals and assists leader Owen Grover (14 goals, 17 assists).

Iowa City Regina (18-3, 1A state champion) — Coach Rick Larew and the Regals have won seven state titles in the last 10 years. Sophomore Alec Wick scored four of 15 goals at the state tournament last season. Junior goalkeeper Josh Dutchik played a state-best 1,645 minutes last season and allowed just 13 goals.

Iowa City High (16-5, 3A state quarterfinalist) — The Little Hawks have reached the state tournament seven years in a row. Senior Ben Steve (13 goals, four assists last season) is the highest-returning scorer for Coach Jose Michel Fajardo.

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Iowa City West (18-5, 3A state semifinalist) — A rebuilding year was still good enough to get Coach Brad Stiles and the Trojans to the state tournament for the 18th time in 19 years. MVC Athlete of the Year and all-state honoree Gada Ambo leads the offensive attack (18 goals, seven assists).

Iowa Mennonite (18-2, 1A state quarterfinalist) — Coach Marcus Miller and Iowa Mennonite reached the state tournament for the first time in school history. Seniors Louis Etienne (17 goals, two assists), Jacob Boller (11 goals, 11 assists) and goalkeeper Blake Bontrager (77 saves) are the key returners.

Marion (17-1, 2A state semifinalist) — First-year Marion Coach Kory Boebel inherits a talented roster that helped the Indians reach the state tournament in each of the last two seasons, the only appearances in school history. Last year, the Indians finished third behind all-state forward Jaffer Murphy (25 goals, 10 assists) and his brothers Levi (15 goals, five assists) and Sam (11 goals, 10 assists).

Solon (15-6, 1A substate finalist) — The Spartans return a pair of first team all-state performers in senior forward Jorel Justus (23 goals, 12 assists) and midfielder Luke Yetley (13 goals, 10 assists). If a capable goalkeeper has been found during the preseason, Coach Jeremy McMurrin and the Spartans will be in the hunt for a return to the state tournament after a one-year absence.

Williamsburg (14-5, 1A state semifinalist) — Coach Ryan Sauser and the Raiders return a first team all-state player in junior midfielder Matthew Cronquist (13 goals, 21 assists) and a two-time all-Wamac forward in senior Zach Litwiler (15 goals, four assists), both of whom were instrumental in getting the Raiders to the first state tournament in school history last season.

Players

Ayi Ajavon, jr., forward, Iowa City Liberty – 2A honorable mention all-state. Ranked eighth in 2A with 19 goals, fifth with 13 assists.

Gada Ambo, sr., forward, Iowa City West — 3A first team all-state. MVC Athlete of the Year. Ranked 10th in 3A with 18 goals, also notched seven assists.

Matthew Cronquist, jr., midfielder, Williamsburg — 1A first team all-state. Two-time all-Wamac first-team selection. Ranked eighth in 1A in points (13 goals, 21 assists).

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Josh Dutchik, jr., goalkeeper, Iowa City Regina — No goalkeeper in the state played more minutes (1,645). Recorded 74 saves and allowed just 13 goals for the state-champion Regals.

Kolby Godbolt, so., midfielder, Iowa City Liberty — 2A honorable mention all-state. Posted nine goals, two assists in just five games due to injury.

Owen Grover, sr., midfielder, Dyersville Beckman — First team all-Wamac selection last season after ranking 10th in 1A in points (14 goals, 17 assists).

Jorel Justus, sr., forward, Solon — 1A first team all-state, first team all-Wamac. Ranked fifth in 1A in points (23 goals, 12 assists).

Alan Kim, jr., forward, Cedar Rapids Kennedy — First team all-MVC honoree last season after scoring 11 goals. Marquette commit.

Mateaus Lewis, sr., forward, Cedar Rapids Prairie — 3A first team all-state selection last season. Two-time all-MVC honoree. 24 goals, 15 assists over the past two seasons. Missouri-Kansas City commit.

Zach Litwiller, sr., forward, Williamsburg — Two-time selection to the all-Wamac first team with 25 goals nine assists over the past two seasons.

Andrija Mijatovic, sr., forward, Cedar Rapids Xavier — Croatian exchange student was a first team all-MVC selection last year when he scored a team-high 18 goals.

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Jaffer Murphy, jr., forward, Marion — 2A first team all-state and first team all-Wamac selection last season when he scored 25 goals, which ranked ninth in the state across all classes. Also posted 10 assists.

Alec Wick, so., midfielder, Iowa City Regina — 1A first team all-state honoree last season when he scored 15 goals, including two in the state-championship game.

Keaton Woods, sr., forward, Cedar Rapids Washington — Two-time first-team selection to both the 3A all-state and all-MVC teams. Ranked seventh last season across all classes with 26 goals.

Luke Yetley, sr., midfielder, Solon — 1A first team all-state. Two-time all-Wamac first-team selection. Scored 28 goals and distributed 14 assists in the last two seasons.

l Comments: douglas.miles@thegazette.com

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