CEDAR RAPIDS — With a schedule loaded with stout Class 3A teams, 2A No. 1 Cedar Rapids Xavier has always been willing to trade a few regular-season wins for postseason preparedness.
“Our overall goal is to win a state title,” Xavier junior defender Michael Glavan said after the Saints lost to Cedar Falls, 2-1 via shootout, in a Mississippi Valley Conference boys’ soccer match Friday at Heco Field. “That is what we are looking for. This whole season, we are just preparing for that. … We are just trying to keep it going, see what we can do and hopefully make a run at it.”
After two scoreless overtime periods, Cedar Falls (6-4, 1-1 MVC) converted all five of its penalty kicks in the shootout compared to just three for Xavier.
Xavier (9-2, 3-1) was without four important contributors who were participating in a high school service trip.
“I was hoping we could squeak a win today,” Hadzic said. “That would put us in the driver’s seat for conference. … A loss doesn’t change much now. We need to beat City High.”
The Saints will play Waterloo East and Western Dubuque next week, then host 3A No. 3 Iowa City High on May 16 in the regular-season finale. Only two of Xavier’s 14 regular-season opponents are fellow 2A schools.
The remaining dozen are in 3A.
“I think it is great that our schedule is a lot different than other 2A schools,” Glavan said. “It really does prepare us for the postseason. When we get to the postseason, it makes our jobs a lot easier.”
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Once substate play begins, the biggest threat to an 11th-consecutive state tournament berth for Xavier will likely come from Fort Madison or Iowa City Liberty, which are each receiving votes in the latest Iowa High School Soccer Coaches Association rankings.
Xavier won at Liberty, 7-0, on April 9.
“I’m happy with it,” Hadzic said of the substate draw. “We were fortunate to end up being ranked No. 1 and Marion was No. 2, it was very close. Both teams got five first-place votes.”
Cedar Falls 2, Class 2A No. 1 Cedar Rapids Xavier 1
(Cedar Falls won on penalty kicks, 5-3)
Goals — CF: Nathan Le (2), CRX: Kristijan Smolcic (1).
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