Prep Soccer

Dubuque Wahlert upsets unbeaten Marion in boys' soccer substate final

Golden Eagles hand Indians first loss, 2-1 (5-3 PK) to reach state

The Dubuque Wahlert boys' soccer team poses with its state-qualifying banner after upsetting Marion in a substate final Saturday at Marion High School. (Nathan Ford/The Gazette)
The Dubuque Wahlert boys' soccer team poses with its state-qualifying banner after upsetting Marion in a substate final Saturday at Marion High School. (Nathan Ford/The Gazette)

MARION — Cam Haugen was confident in what should have been a nervy moment. He had been in a similar situation just three days ago.

As star striker Jaffer Murphy ran up for Marion’s first penalty of a shootout, the Dubuque Wahlert goalkeeper dove to his left and parried the shot away. He knew then he’d soon have a state-qualifying banner in his hands.

“I’m thinking, ‘hey, all I’ve got to do is make one save,’” Baumann said. “My boys up there, they’re going to put in all five of their PKs. All I have to do is do my job on one save.”

He was right. It was the only save of the shootout, and a decisive one. Trenton Dodds converted the fifth shot from the spot, and No. 10 Wahlert handed No. 2 Marion its first loss, 2-1 (5-3 PK) in a Class 2A substate final Saturday at Marion High School.

Haugen didn’t register a save in Wednesday’s substate semifinal shootout, but Clear Creek Amana missed twice to send Wahlert to the final, 1-0 (5-4 PK).

“This time I was even more confident than the first time,” Haugen said.

Just getting to a shootout Saturday was starting to look tenuous for Wahlert (12-5), which will play in a state quarterfinal game Thursday afternoon at Cownie Soccer Complex in Des Moines.

After giving up the equalizer to Murphy in the 52nd minute, the Golden Eagles were reduced to 10 men in the 75th minute when Braden Gebhart received his second yellow card. Then key midfielder Diego Lopez was forced out with an injury in the 91st minute.

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Still, Wahlert didn’t sit back, and both teams produced golden goal chances. Marion center back Will Hernandez cleared a loose ball in the box after a long throw-in with less than a minute left in the first overtime. Wahlert’s Timothy Salgado matched the feat by sticking his leg out to poke the ball away from Brandon Whitson on a breakaway in the final seconds of 2OT.

“The guys knew this is what they came for so it came down to grit at that point,” Wahlert Coach Dan Block said. “Do you guys want it or not? It’s not like I had some special play that I gave them that won it for them.”

Nathan Donovan opened the scoring for Wahlert in the ninth minute when he created space at the top of the box and unleashed a shot that goalkeeper Carson Gorton got a piece of before it floated into the net.

The Golden Eagles then focused on shutting down Murphy, who is second in Class 2A with 46 goals this season. A cast of defenders did well to stay with him until Austin Kochan’s cross landed at his feet and he slid home the equalizer with 28:53 left.

Marion (16-1) worked the sidelines to send in more crosses as Wahlert focused on playing through the middle, but another finishing touch never came.

It ends a season that started with state championship aspirations after a third-place finish last year. The Indians’ only other close game this season was a 1-0 victory over Benton Community on April 23.

“I just couldn’t be more proud of each and every one of them,” Marion Coach Kory Boebel said. “I owe everything to them. They had one heck of a season that most of them will probably never forget. It’s unfortunate we lost the way we did, but I just love them.”

l Comments: (319) 398-8252; nathan.ford@thegazette.com

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