DES MOINES — Even in victory, Brad Stiles can always find that one area that needs improvement.
A late foul and ensuing penalty-kick conversion just might give the Iowa City West boys’ soccer coach enough ammunition to keep his Trojans plenty focused.
“I would have liked the shutout,” Stiles said after the second-ranked Trojans edged No. 10 Ankeny, 2-1, in a Class 3A state quarterfinal Friday at Cownie Soccer Park. “I am not quite sure what happened there at the end. When you get two teams fighting for the ball like that, that is probably the way it is going to turn out. Closer than it should be.”
The victory was the 17th in a row for West (17-1). The Trojans were led by senior forward Gada Ambo, who scored goals in both the 19th and 45th minutes.
“The team kept finding me, so I was just trying to find open space,” Ambo said. “They found me and I got lucky and scored.”
Ambo now leads the Trojans with 14 goals this season, including nine in the last seven matches.
“Working a little bit harder,” Ambo said. “It is the postseason. I am not trying to get out yet. I haven’t won anything yet.”
West senior goalkeeper Zach Albright led a strong defensive effort that kept Ankeny (12-6) scoreless until the penalty kick from Kolby Raineri with 2:21 left in the match.
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West will play a state semifinal Saturday against Mississippi Valley Conference mate Cedar Rapids Washington (14-5). West blanked the Warriors, 4-0, at home May 16 but know the return of two-time all-state selection Keaton Woods from injury presents new challenges.
“It will take a lot,” Albright said. “He is a really good player. He played on my club team. I am excited to play him.”
CLASS 3A STATE QUARTERFINAL
At Des Moines
No. 2 Iowa City West 2, No. 7 Ankeny 1
Goals — ANK: Kolby Raineri (13); ICW: Gada Ambo 2 (14).
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