By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – West High senior Nicolas Raley has seen enough of the rivalry with City High over the past three seasons to know that no cross-town showdown comes without some drama.
Raley did his part to add to the series’ dramatics on Friday.
Raley’s left-footed rocket across the box in the 49th minute ricocheted off the post and in to account for all the scoring in ninth-ranked West High’s 1-0 upset of top-ranked City High at the University of Iowa Soccer Complex.
“I was looking for frame and honestly I was hoping for the side netting rather than the post but I think fate was that it was going to hit the post and go in,” Raley said. “Dramatic game, dramatic goal.”
In a series that has dripped with late-game drama over the past three seasons, Friday’s top-10 showdown once again lived up to the hype.
The breakaway goal by Raley gave West High the lead less than nine minutes into the second half.
Senior goalkeeper Zach Frisbie made Raley’s goal stand up with a diving save in the final minute as West High snapped a three-match losing skid to City High.
“It’s huge for us, the seniors especially,” Frisbie said. “This is the only team that I have never beaten before so for me personally it’s a big deal and I know it’s the same for all the other seniors.”
West High improved to 6-2 on the season and 3-2 in Mississippi Valley Conference play with its first win over the Little Hawks since the 2013 state title game.
The loss was the first of the season for top-ranked City High (6-1, 4-1) and snapped a 29-match regular season winning streak for the Little Hawks that began with a 2-1 win over West High in 2015.
“It’s not a pressure it’s an honor to be number one and we work to be number one,” City High coach Jose Fajardo said. “It has been too many years and too many hours of work to be number one that we don’t want to lose that but everybody wants to beat number one that’s the way it goes. Now we have to get our butts on the field again and get ready to go back to number one.”
The last three meetings between the two cross-town rivals have come down to the wire.
City High won the 2014 meeting with a goal as time expired, 2015 went to overtime and last year’s matchup was decided by penalty kicks.
West High made sure no extra time was needed this season.
The goal from Raley and an impressive performance from Frisbie in goal allowed West High to run its winning streak to three straight after back-to-back losses to open MVC play.
“Every program comes to a certain hurdle,” West High coach Brad Stiles said. “If we didn’t pass this hurdle it could have been really dramatic.”
Even without overtime, Friday wasn’t lacking for drama.
The teams were tied at the half but City High missed a pair of golden scoring opportunities in the final eight minutes of the first half.
Frisbie provided a pair of impressive saves late in the half to keep the game scoreless after a collision with a teammate sent him to the sideline briefly for evaluation in the first half.
The final City High chance of the first half came in the 38th minute but was denied by Frisbie who pounced on a loose ball just in front of the end line.
“It just happened so fast,” Frisbie said. “The ball was bouncing around and I knew we were fine my defenders have been great for me this season.”
Raley snapped the scoreless tie when he took a long pass from teammate Alex Andersen in a West High counter attack and free himself from a City High defender.
The senior forward then rocketed a shot with his left foot across the box from right to left, off the inside of the post and in.
“I know one move and that was it,” Raley said. “I was too close to the goal for him not to go for it, he had to he didn’t have a chance.
City High kept pushing back but could never pull even.
The final chance was thwarted by Frisbie in the final minute when he laid out to make a fully-extended diving save.
“Frisbie was the man tonight,” Stiles said. “That is starting to be a little bit of a theme and I think this is the time to give coach Quentin (Fisher) a little props too because he is the one putting in time with those guys and keeping them sharp and so we are thankful for that.”
For City High it was a game of missed opportunities as the Little Hawks dropped the regular season meeting with West High since a 3-1 setback in 2013.
“If we finish the chances that we have in the first half it is not a game,” Fajardo said. “That is part of the game, it’s not how many chances you create it’s how many chances you put away and they were more effective than us today.”