Boys State Soccer: Guymon's Blast Sends West To 3A Final
By Grant Burkhardt (Story) and Josh Christensen (Video), Reporters
DES MOINES, Iowa – Jason Guymon's winning strike was as pure as they come. Not bad for someone who didn't start his career, or even this season, as a forward.
Guymon's 36th-minute howitzer was all Iowa City West 's would need. The defending state champs would add another to be sure, and West moved on to the 3A final with a 2-0 win over the Cougars at Cownie Soccer Park on Friday evening.
The Trojans will face City High in Saturday's 3A championship tilt, in a game televised live on KCRG 9.2.
"Jason Guymon started as a defender," said West head coach Brad Stiles. "About a month in we started moving him around and tinkering, and he did a good job being coachable."
As with most soccer plays, more than just Guymon made the opening goal happen. Mueng Sunday and Guymon combined to find a crack in Kennedy's back line. Sunday's pass was perfect, and although Cougars' goalkeeper Nathan Althoff got a few fingers on it, Guymon's left-footed rocket was too.
"I just anticipated the defender missing the ball, and once he did I saw the ball coming through, and I just went for it," said Guymon of his season's third goal.
Ben Troester slotted West's second, which all but iced it. The Cougars (16-4) found a few good chances in the first half, but the Trojans packed it in, got Guymon's counter-attack goal and sent Kennedy to the third-place game Saturday against Johnston.
"I thought for 30 minutes we were the better team," said Kennedy's co-head coach Mike Robertson. "It's unfortunate that after playing that well for 30 minutes, we let one ball get behind us, and the guy converted.
"That's the difference between a team that goes and wins titles. They put [those chances] away. We didn't get one behind them, and obviously they did."
Coaches and players always talk about seeing growth from the start of the season to the end, but when a team has won 19 straight games, as West has, what could possibly be better?
"The little things," Stiles said, after a pause. "Center backs holding on to the ball for that extra moment. Little things like the angle of a pass. It's kind of hard to explain. I had a lot of guys coming back from last year with experience. We were able to start at a much higher level."
The Trojans beat the Little Hawks in the 2010 final, 3-1, and defeated City High this year by the same score. Saturday marks West's 10th time in a boys soccer final since 2000. Stiles has coached six state title winners in his 12-plus seasons.
"I'm expecting a great game of soccer," Stiles added. "Hopefully we can have more fans than them. Hopefully our fitness levels can come into play, we were able to rest some guys. Hopefully that matters in a tournament like this.