CEDAR RAPIDS — Even Mother Nature could not get in the way of what was coming.
By the time a lightning storm halted play before the second half could begin, the Cedar Rapids Washington boys’ soccer team had staked its claim to a share of the Mississippi Valley Conference Mississippi Division championship.
“It feels great,” Washington senior Brooks Papendick said after the Warriors defeated Class 3A No. 11 Cedar Rapids Prairie, 2-0, in the final match of the regular season for both teams Thursday night at Mount Mercy. “The past two years have been kind of a disappointment for how we finished. To come out strong this year and get our players back and be able to produce goals in good games against good teams is a real accomplishment.”
Prairie is now 10-6, 3-4.
Papendick and senior Keaton Woods each scored first-half goals for Washington (11-5, 6-1 MVC). After dropping their MVC opener against Xavier on April 25, the Warriors have won six matches in a row — including a 2-0 shutout of 3A No. 3 Iowa City High on Tuesday — and will share the division crown with the Saints.
“We lost to some good teams earlier, and then we lost to some not-so-good teams,” Woods said. “Our confidence has been down, but now we got City High and Prairie behind us. Going into substate, we needed those two wins to pick up the pace and see what we can do.”
Woods — a two-time selection to the 3A all-state team — was feared lost due to a right-knee injury in the preseason jamboree, but was relieved when tests revealed a strained MCL and torn knee tissue. After returning to the lineup in the eighth match of the season, it took him four games to find his offensive flow.
He now has 10 goals in his last six matches.
“Having Keaton back just gives you someone who is really dangerous,” Washington Coach J.P. Graham said. “Although he hasn’t been finishing like he has in the past, it is starting to happen right at the right time.”
Washington will play a Class 3A substate semifinal on May 22 against the winner of Clinton and Davenport North. Win there, and a rematch with City High is possible for a trip to the state tournament.
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“Being able to see how they play and what they do is nice,” Papendick said. “The confidence, our team chemistry, I would say we are doing pretty well right now. Since we have won these past two games, I think going into substate, we’re going to be just fine. We are ready to go to state.”
AT MOUNT MERCY
Cedar Rapids Washington 2, Class 3A No. 11 Cedar Rapids Prairie 0
(game called at halftime due to lightning)
Goals — Keaton Woods (10), Brooks Papendick (14).
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