Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – Nothing takes away the inevitable tension that accompanies a cross-town matchup with a ranked rival like an early score.
West High did that and then some in its annual meeting with City High on Friday evening.
Class 3A fifth-ranked West High scored twice in the opening 20 minutes on its way to a 3-1 win over No. 16 City High (3-2) in a Mississippi Valley Conference match at Barker Field in Iowa City.
“An early goal is really important, it really sets the tone and gets us pumped up,” West High senior Kolby Godbolt said. “It really gave us the energy boost we needed to put the game away.”
Godbolt fed Michael Nelson for a goal in the seventh minute and put the game away with a goal of his own with 4:31 left as West High improved to 7-1 with its fifth consecutive win.
Owen Smith added a first-half goal as West High matched its highest scoring output in the series with City High since a 3-1 win over the Little Hawks in 2013.
“It wasn’t perfect but I had a great time and that’s probably what’s most important to me,” Smith said. “As a senior I got one shot (against City) and I made it count and I’m happy about it.”
West High wasted little time taking control of the match on Friday as Godbolt raced into the box and hit Nelson with a perfect cross.
Nelson did the rest, burying the ball in the back of the net for his fifth goal of the season and a 1-0 West High led less than seven minutes into the game.
“I just saw Michael free open back post so I just slid it across,” Godbolt said. “It was all she wrote after that.”
Riding the momentum from that early score, West High built a commanding lead when Smith notched his first goal of the season with 20:32 remaining in the opening half.
Jared Gilliam sent a corner kick deep toward the back post and Smith emerged from a pack of defenders to head it in for a 2-0 Trojan lead.
“I make that run on most corner kicks and Jared just happened to play a dime of a ball,” Smith said. “I got on the end of it and put it away.”
City High wouldn’t go quietly.
The Little Hawks ramped up their intensity after halftime and got on the board quickly when sophomore Alima Mmunga slammed in a beautiful goal from in front of the net just more than three minutes into the second half.
“I think our reserves did a great job in the first half and unfortunately we just made two errors back-to-back in the second,” West High coach Brad Stiles said. “When you do that against a good team they are going to score goals.”
City High continued to push and had several opportunities to even the score early in the half but was turned away by West High junior keeper Nicholas McDonnell.
McDonnell had a save on a Jerry Mwenemkamba shot from inside the box as West High weathered a strong 20 minutes from City High to open the second half.
“We needed to take a few deep breaths and just focus on keeping the ball more than anything,” Smith said. “I think it ended up being good for us because we put another one on in the back of the net at the end of the game.”
The insurance goal came from the dynamic Godbolt, who beat a defender into the box and slipped a shot into the lower right corner of the goal in the 76th minute.
With the late goal from Godbolt the Trojans have now scored three or more goals in each of its five matches during its current winning streak and are outscoring teams 20-2 during that stretch.
“I feel like we are progressing as a team together throughout the season,” Nelson said. “The first couple of games we may not have had the connection up front but we are getting there.”