IOWA CITY — The Iowa City High boys’ soccer team experienced a bit of a midseason lull.
While losses in three of five games did not cause a big stir in the Class 3A rankings, reflection was in order inside the Little Hawks’ locker room.
“It was kind of at the right time,” Iowa City High senior Jonah Dancer said after the fourth-ranked Little Hawks closed the regular season with a 2-0 shutout of No. 14 Cedar Rapids Kennedy in a Mississippi Valley Conference game Thursday at Iowa City High School. “It kind of woke us up to what could expose us. We fixed those parts and I think we got stronger overall from it.”
Dancer is one of seven seniors in the starting lineup for City High (14-4, 10-3 MVC), which has won six of its last seven games. A second team all-state selection last season, Dancer continues to provide the spark for the Little Hawks’ offense from his center midfielder position.
“Heart,” City High Coach Jose Michel Fajardo said. “It’s not only technical, physical, mental, psychological leadership. It is whatever you want to put there, it is there. He just brings a lot to the team. He is calm when you need him to be calm. He is those kind of players that you need when things go bad.”
Senior John Clark leads the Little Hawks with 16 goals this season, while junior Ben Steve has added 13. After Dancer scored his sixth goal of the season with a penalty-kick conversion that gave the Little Hawks a 1-0 lead in the first half, senior Cameron Chavez provided a valuable insurance goal, his 11th this season, in the 67th minute.
“If you look at our team, we don’t have any superstars,” Fajardo said. “We are a team. … When we work together, we are a contender.”
City High opens the postseason on May 23 with a substate semifinal game at the University of Iowa Soccer Complex against the winner of North Scott and Linn-Mar.
With no other ranked teams in their substate bracket, the Little Hawks are expected to qualify for the state tournament for the seventh year in a row.
“Just continue to work hard in training,” said Dancer, a Western Illinois signee. “Just everyone on the same page. I think we are. I’m liking the way we look right now, so we’ve just got to put it all together and fight hard when the games matter.”
Kennedy (9-5, 8-5) lost for just the second time in eight games. The Cougars will play a substate quarterfinal on May 21 against Dubuque Senior at Kingston Stadium for the right to play seventh-ranked Cedar Rapids Washington two days later.
AT IOWA CITY HIGH
Class 3A No. 4 Iowa City High 2, No. 14 Cedar Rapids Kennedy 0
Goals — Jonah Dancer 1 (6), Cameron Chavez 1 (11).
l Comments: firstname.lastname@example.org