Boys State Soccer: West Finally Beats Washington

By Jeff Johnson (Story) and Josh Christensen (Video), Reporter

Iowa City West celebrates a point against Cedar Rapids Washington during a first round Class 3A game at the 2013 State Boy's Soccer Tournament at Cownie Soccer Park in Des Moines on Thursday, May 30, 2013. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

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By Grant Burkhardt

The Class 1A, 2A and 3A boys state championship soccer games will be televised live on KCRG 9.2 starting at noon on Saturday, June 1. For full state tournament coverage, go to iowaprepsports.com

DES MOINES, Iowa – They’ve been like the static on your radio. Or in a little more of a today technological reference, like a cell phone dead spot.

Let’s just say the guys from Cedar Rapids Washington have been completely annoying to the Iowa City West soccer team.

Though the Trojans have a record six state championships, Wash has beaten them three years in a row, handing them their only loss last season and again this season in penalty kicks in the early April opener.

There was a reason West’s players sported forest green T-shirts Thursday afternoon at Cownie Park with Warrior blue lettering. That’s not a normal color combination.

“Just to remind us that it was early in the season, but that we didn’t want to lose to them twice,” West coach Brad Stiles said, after a 3-0 Class 3A state tournament quarterfinal win.

West (18-1) didn’t come close to losing to them twice. Ben Troester converted a penalty kick just 51 seconds into the game, part of a three-goal first-half barrage that moves the Trojans to a 5 p.m. Friday semifinal against Cedar Rapids Kennedy.

Game, set, revenge.

“They had the confidence,” said West’s Paris Martins. “But I’m glad we came out here and did what we were supposed to do. We got our goals in. We were worried in a way, yet we were confident because we know how to play soccer, how to move the ball around and get our goals. It was a good win.”

Martins had a beauty of a goal on a free kick approximately 10 yards outside the top of the penalty box, a bending shot that beat Wash goalkeeper Gunnar Lenzen with 14:21 remaining in the half. Aaron Miller added another Trojans goal six minutes after that.

Washington (14-5) had opportunities of its own. Austin Bergstrom was stoned by West keeper Ryan Holte on a PK attempt late in the first half and had a Wash shot early in the second half deflect off his hands but hit the right goalpost.

With 23 minutes to go, Boris Licona-Moreno had a header goal that was waived away by offsides.

“I thought we played fine. We played a good game,” Washington coach J.P. Graham said. “I don’t know how many shots we had, probably eight or nine to their four. They barely crossed midfield in the second half. I’m happy with the way we played. It’s just West advantage of their chances. That’s the sign of a good team.”

Graham bemoaned the calls that went against his club: the disallowed goal, a tackle that led to Martins’ first-half free kick and the tripping call against West’s Justin Baker that sent Troester to the penalty kick circle. The coach voiced his displeasure enough to the referee to earn the first yellow card of his lengthy coaching career.

But in the end “We were just missing that finishing touch today,” he said.

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