WATERLOO — A hat trick by Cedar Rapids Kennedy’s Curtis Ratzer was a little more than Waterloo West could overcome in a boys’ soccer matchup Friday at Waterloo Memorial Stadium.
The breaks fell the Cougars’ way throughout, and Ratzer benefitted with two penalty kicks and a fortunate bounce off the crossbar in a 4-2 Missouri Valley Conference win.
The game remained scoreless until the 20th minute when Ratzer made true with his first penalty kick.
One minute later, the ball caromed off the crossbar and slipped behind Wahawks keeper Riley Sloyer. Ratzer was there to head the ball in to give the Cougars (8-3) a 2-nil lead that held up to halftime.
The Wahawks (8-9) regrouped at the break.
“We just kind of left it up to the guys,” West coach Mike Penning said. “We did not come out with the fire we needed to and I have to give the guys some credit, they came out in the second half and looked a lot sharper. Not a lot of things went our way in that first half, but they sure came out inspired for the second.”
Senior Edvin Rizvic’s 12th goal of the year got the Wahawks on the scoreboard. Grant Herbert picked off a pass at midfield and started a three-on-two break, passing across the pitch to Senad Omeragic, who then put the ball onto Rizvic’s foot for the finish.
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Rizvic struck again 13 minutes later as he delivered a corner kick to the middle that a streaking Haris Placo headed in as he bulled through the defense.
“The key for us is we came out with so much more energy in the second half,” said Rizvic. “On the first goal I saw Grant coming down the side and knew he would get around his guy and then the pass came to me and all I had to do was tap it in. On the second one I always try to get the ball right in the middle off the corner kick, and when I saw Haris getting through I knew he would score.
“That second PK for them took a little wind out of us, though,” added Rizvic.
Ratzer converted that opportunity for his third tally, putting the Cougars back on top 3-2 with 15 minutes remaining.
“Their number seven (Alan Kim) draws a lot of fouls and we couldn’t contain him tonight,” Penning said. “Then (Ratzer) gets the PK and suddenly we are down again. If we could come out and play as crisp and inspired as we did in the second half we could win some games. We just need to come out better.”
The Cougars tacked on an insurance goal in the 74th minute.