DES MOINES — Jose Michel Fajardo did not mince words after the game.
For the fifth time in seven years, his Iowa City High boys’ soccer team failed to make it out of the quarterfinal round of the state tournament.
“Maybe we’re not good enough,” Fajardo said after the sixth-seeded Little Hawks were blanked by third-seeded Bettendorf, 1-0, in a Class 3A state quarterfinal Thursday at Cownie Soccer Park. “What else can I say? If we don’t put it away, we’re not being as good as we are supposed to be when we are here. Period. We’re not performing when we’re here. We are underperforming. Starting with me, I think we all have to evaluate what we’re doing here because we are not doing it right.”
City High (16-5) defeated Bettendorf, 3-0, at home on April 28. In the rematch, Fajardo estimated that the Little Hawks spent 90 percent of their time in the Bettendorf penalty box, yet were unable to score.
“We don’t finish the chances we have,” Fajardo said. “It is the same story every game, every year. If we don’t put our chances away, we let teams who don’t belong in the game.”
Fajardo told his team before the game that the only way Bettendorf could beat them was with a free kick or a corner kick. In the 55th minute, Bettendorf senior defender Dawson Gamble scored his first goal of the season with a header off a corner kick from junior Ian Silva.
“My objective was to stand in front of the keep, try and block his view a little bit,” Gamble said. “The ball was perfect, right between me and him so I just went up and got a head on it.”
Bettendorf (15-2) — a third-place finisher at state last season — will play a state semifinal game Friday at 5:05 against seventh-seeded Ankeny (16-4), a 3-0 upset winner over No. 2 Cedar Rapids Prairie.
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“We came out in the second half when it was 0-0, we held them out,” said Bettendorf Coach Ben Pennington, a North Liberty native. “I thought we had a chance. We rotated well and what City High did they just kept serving the ball. They are dangerous. … I’m excited. We get to play two more games.”
CLASS 3A STATE QUARTERFINAL
At Des Moines
No. 3 Bettendorf 1, No. 6 Iowa City High 0
Goal — Dawson Gamble 1 (1).
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