Cubs claim 3-1 victory in 1A consolation game
DES MOINES – Even though its championship dreams could no longer be realized, Nevada was still determined to conclude the boys’ state soccer tournament on a high note Saturday.
The Cubs played their best game of the tournament against West Liberty in the Class 1A third-place consolation game, dominating the final 25 minutes en route to a 3-1 victory at the Cownie Soccer Park.
"We played really well today," Nevada head coach Bill George said. "I thought we dominated most of the game. We passed the ball well, we had good looks on goal and it got a little physical out there today. Most of these seniors were happy to go out on a winning note, and I can’t be happier for them."
Nevada led 1-0 at the half when Jake Barker scored just before halftime off an assist from Christian Gross. West Liberty’s only good look of the half came three minutes into the game when Peter Steele hit a shot off the post that nearly bounced into the net before Cub keeper Zach Anderson corralled it.
The Cubs were a little shaky at the start of the second half and that led to a tie score.
Three minutes into the half, West Liberty forward Rafael Ibarra fired a hard liner that was caught by Anderson, but four minutes later Ibarra made it count as he got one by Anderson off a pass from Ramayan Rivera.
It didn’t take long for Nevada to regroup.
With 21 minutes left in regulation, Patrick Stephenson took a ball from Gross and was just wide on a cross shot from the left side of the goal. One minute later Stephenson got another shot, as John Jamison dribbled down near the end line and fired a perfect cross from the right side.
Stephenson came up and knocked the ball into the back of the net to give Nevada a 2-1 lead at the 58:07 mark.
"I was glad that I got another shot," Stephenson said. "John made a great run out of the back and made a wonderful cross. All I needed to do was put a foot on it. I was finally able to finish on one – it was pretty nice."
Nevada continued to dominate possession over the next 15 minutes, and the Cubs were rewarded with another score at the 72:40 mark. Gross took a bad Comet pass and broke away from the West Liberty defenders to put one in the goal.
That put the final nail in West Liberty’s coffin. The Cubs rebounded from a 3-0 semifinal loss against Beckman Catholic Friday to end the season at 14-5 and the Comets finished at 10-8-3.
"Yesterday was really tough, but I kind of just thought ‘let’s just go out with a bang and have fun,"’ Jamison said. "Nerves weren’t as high today, so we just kind of calmed down, took a deep breath and stayed loose."
Jamison is part of a talented senior class that made state in each of their final three seasons, including a 1A state runner-up showing last year.
"It just feels really good to go out with a win," Jamison. "Our goal was obviously first, but placing two years in a row feels great. Being a public school, we’ve been playing soccer together since we were five years old. It’s been a long road for all of us."
Iowa City Regina (15-1) went on to claim the 1A state championship later on Saturday with a 3-0 victory in the title game over Beckman Catholic (17-1-1).
Nevada 3, West Liberty 1
WL 0 1 – 1
N 1 2 – 3
N – Jake Barker (Christian Gross), 37:45
WL – Rafael Ibarra (Ramayan Rivera), 47:42
N – Patrick Stephenson (John Jamison), 58:07
N – Gross, 72:40