WATERLOO — High school soccer made its debut on the artificial field turf of Waterloo’s Memorial Stadium during Thursday night’s metro boys’ jamboree.
Three of the four one-half exhibition contests were settled by a single goal.
Denver opened the night with a 2-1 win over Waterloo East. Vinton-Shellsburg followed with a 4-0 victory over Grundy Center/Gladbrook-Reinbeck.
Game three was a low scoring affair. Cedar Falls claimed a 1-0 victory from Decorah. Host Waterloo West battled crosstown rival Waterloo Columbus to a 0-0 tie in the nightcap.
In the final game, the Columbus Sailors came out running.
“We were not necessarily caught off guard by their speed, because we knew they would be fast and we would be in for a real match,” Waterloo West coach Mike Penning said. “We were basically learning on the fly tonight. We had some guys out there starting that this was their first ever varsity playing time. We were learning on the fly all night.”
The first three minutes of the contest saw the Sailors push the ball hard in the Wahawks zone and take four quality shots at the net with nothing reaching nylon.
Nga Reh sent a laser shot that glanced off the right post before finding a resting spot in the center of the goalie zone. The Wahawks eventually freed the ball and kept the game tied at 0-0.
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With seven minutes remaining in the game, freshman Grant Herbert duplicated the effort for the Wahawks as his shot too, went hard into the right post.
“We wanted to use our speed to move the ball quickly and make them chase us and get tired,” Columbus coach William Maletta said. “We got a good start with that, but they are such a good caliber team, and they matched us as the game moved on. We had a good night and now we just have to work our team chemistry. It is just starting right now and we will continue to work on that part and get better.”
Cedar Falls coach Spencer Steffy was content with a 1-0 victory over Decorah, and looking forward to the new season.
“We saw a lot of good stuff here tonight,” Steffy said. “We possessed the ball most of the night and had control most of the way. It was good to get out and see what we had because we had no idea what to expect.
“It was a good warm-up to help us start a very tough season. We have Waverly-Shell Rock Saturday, then have to go to Iowa City West on Thursday. What a tough start of the season.”
East had a bit of a rough start, as well. The Trojans gave up two goals to the Denver early before scoring late in the game off a Matt Wheeler shot.
“Basically, this year, this team is going to be so much better than last year,” East coach Phed Cody said. “We have the numbers for once, but we don’t have a lot of experience. Our keeper, Riley Tisue, is from Dunkerton and he faced a lot of shots and did not look bad at all. Xavier Washington was a very pleasant surprise to watch, as well, as he did not have a lot of playing time. We just have a lot to be excited about right now.”