IOWA CITY — The boys’ soccer rivalry between Iowa City High and Iowa City West is spirited, intense and always close.
Only twice in the last 21 years has a match between the two crosstown combatants been decided by more than one goal.
Tuesday night was no different.
“It definitely checks the first box,” West Coach Brad Stiles said after Class 3A No. 4 West defeated third-ranked City High, 1-0, in a Mississippi Valley Conference match at the University of Iowa Soccer Complex. “Beat City. Not the best win, but I don’t know if any of these wins against a rival are ever good-looking, so we’ll take it as best we can and go from there.”
West (3-1, 2-0 MVC) had dropped two of the previous three meetings against City High, including a 2-1 decision on the same field last season.
“A lot of motivation,” West junior midfielder Tomas Sanchez said. “We came into this game ready, prepared. We didn’t want to have the feeling that we had last year after the loss, so we just came ready.”
Sanchez capped a frenetic start to the match with his first goal of the season in the 11th minute off an assist from electrifying sophomore Roberto Machado Guzman.
“I just saw a chance to get my name on the board and put the ball in back of the net,” Sanchez said. “So I saw an opening and just took it.”
City High (3-1, 1-1 MVC) was held without a goal for just the fifth time in four years. West sophomore left back defender Yulong Shao led a defensive effort that limited long passes, won the one-on-one battles and kept the opponents off senior goalkeeper Zachary Albright.
“Our chemistry, our connection with each other and how well we work with each other is real important,” Shao said. “I feel like we do a good job with that. That is one of our biggest strengths.”
All four West opponents this season are either ranked or receiving votes in the Class 3A Iowa High School Soccer Coaches Association poll. The Trojans will host another ranked opponent in No. 9 Cedar Rapids Washington on April 16.
“That’s normal for us,” Stiles said. “We’re OK. We put ourselves in that spot, that’s for sure.”
AT UNIVERSITY OF IOWA SOCCER COMPLEX
Class 3A No. 4 Iowa City West 1, No. 3 Iowa City High 0
Goal — Tomas Sanchez (1).
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