Boys Soccer Notebook: West High’s Road to State Goes Through Barker Field but MVC Title Must Come on the Road
By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
West High celebrated another senior night win at Ed Barker Field last Tuesday.
The Trojan’s home since it opened in 2013, Barker Field has a special meaning that goes beyond the 35-5 record the Trojans have accumulated at home the last five seasons.
“It means a lot to me, my brother did fundraiser to help get this field and we haven’t lost too many times on this field,” West High senior Zach Frisbie said. “It means a lot to us and to get a good win here on senior night was awesome.”
West High won’t have to leave Barker Field to earn a return trip to the state tournament.
The Trojans will host both games of Class 3A substate three as it attempts to return to the 3A state tournament.
A trip to the state tournament runs through Barker Field but if West High wants to first clinch a Mississippi Valley Conference title the Trojans will need to do it away from home.
West High enters the final week of the regular season tied with Waterloo West atop MVC Mississippi Division standings at 8-3 but holds its conference title destiny in its hands.
The Trojans play at No. 14 Cedar Rapids Washington (9-6) on Tuesday before closing the regular season at Waterloo West (12-5).
“We have to do it away from home so I think the old adage of one game at a time will apply,” Stiles said. “Hopefully we can reestablish ourselves and win a conference title.”
West High started MVC play with back-to-back losses to Cedar Rapids Xavier and Linn-Mar but has won eight of its last nine conference games to put itself in position to claim another divisional title.
Waterloo West hosts 3A top-ranked Cedar Rapids Prairie on Monday before hosting West High on Thursday.
With two wins clinching a title, West High doesn’t plan to rely on outcomes of other matches.
“That’s definitely what our goal is,” West High senior Kelvin Encarnacao “We are going to try to beat Washington and beat West and try to reach one of our goals for the season.”
Streaks after Streaks: City High spent three weeks as the top-ranked team in Class 3A after opening the season with six straight wins.
Consecutive one-goal losses to West High, Cedar Rapids Xavier and Cedar Rapids Prairie dropped City High to 6-3 and out of the top spot.
With the postseason approaching the Little Hawks once again look like a team worthy of sitting atop the rankings.
City High has won six straight matches since its 1-0 to current 3A No. 1 Cedar Rapids Prairie with four of those matches coming against ranked opponents.
During its current winning streak City High has outscored opponents 15-2.
Back on Track: Following back-to-back losses to Regina and Maquoketa and with the postseason just a few weeks away Class 1A fifth-ranked Solon (13-5) needed a win and a confidence boost.
The Spartans got both in consecutive matches.
First Solon avoided a three-match losing skid with a 1-0 conference win over a solid Central DeWitt squad with a Luke Yetley goal accounted for all the scoring.
“We needed a big win after two losses and that was just one of those bounce back games that boosted our confidence,” Solon senior Anthony Bullard said. “Any time you beat a good team it’s good for everybody.”
Then the Spartans got their attack on track with nine goals in a senior night win over Vinton-Shellsburg.
It was the first match with more than one goal for Solon since April 25, a span of four matches.
“You have to start putting it in the net now or you go home,” Senior Ben Carr said. “We just have to stress on finishing our shots especially in the final third and that will help us win games.”
Extra Tough, Extra Time: It’s hard to have a tougher week than the one Clear Creek Amana had last week.
The Clippers gave up a total of two goals in 198 minutes last week but went 2-0, dropping a pair of overtime matches to WAMAC opponents.
Clear Creek Amana (8-6) allowed a goal in the 98th minute in a two-overtime loss to Williamsburg on Tuesday and was topped 4-2 in penalty kicks in a 4-2 loss to Maquoketa after playing for 100 minutes on Thursday.
The Clippers have lost five of their last seven, with four of those losses coming by a single goal and three in overtime.
Home Away From Home: City High will host the Class 3A substate 5 tournament but won’t be truly playing at home.
The Little Hawks will play the substate semifinal and final at the UI Soccer Complex.
Regina and Solon both get a chance to advance to state without leaving home.
Solon will host the Class 1A substate five while Regina hosts in 1A substate six.