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CEDAR RAPIDS – A perfect start to the season for fourth-ranked City High came to a jolting halt Monday evening on the frigid turf at Kingston Stadium.
Class 3A seventh-ranked Cedar Rapids Washington (7-1) converted all five of its attempts in a penalty kick shootout to hand City High (6-1) its first defeat in a Mississippi Valley Conference Valley Division match in Cedar Rapids.
There were times in the past an early season loss could lead to panic for the Little Hawks.
Veteran head coach Jose Michel Fajardo knows that isn’t the case for this team which returns to action on Friday with its annual meeting with cross-town rival West High.
“I think that at this point where we are right now as a program losing a game only hurts tonight,” Fajardo said. “A few years ago we would have freaked out, right now we know who we are. We know that if you have to get a loss get it now, wake up and get to the next one.”
City High trailed for nearly half of the 100 minutes of action on Monday after Keaton Woods gave the Warriors a lead midway through the opening half with his state-leading 22 goal of the season.
The junior forward beat a defender into the box and slipped a low shot from the right edge of the box into the left side of the goal past City High keeper Alex Greiemann.
“Merci (Ngiriweneza) made a great tackle and it just happened to fall at my feet at the right moment,” Woods said. “I beat the one defender and put it in the net.”
It remained 1-0 until City High pulled even on a Noah Bullwinkle rebound goal in the 71st minute.
Washington keeper Will Bickel couldn’t handle a shot form City High sophomore Adam Engelbrecht cleanly and Bullwinkle was able to get enough of the ball to direct it in for his fourth goal of the season.
“We just need to take care of the little details we need to take care of scoring the chances we have and being a little more calm in front of the goal,” Fajardo said. “We dominated, we took more shots than the other team and we still lost game.”
That was all the scoring either side could muster.
City High thwarted a pair of opportunities for Woods in both 10-minute overtime periods.
“They are really good at possessing the ball, they connected a lot more passes than we did so our game plan was just to kind of let them do that and try to just eliminate good opportunities,” Cedar Rapids Washington coach JP Graham said. “Our keeper never had to make any kind of diving save, it looked dangerous at times but it wasn’t terrible dangerous and then we tried to counter attack when we could with Keaton and so we had some dangerous chances also.”
In the shootout each team converted on its first four attempts.
Washington led 5-4 after Andrew Hammer converted the Warriors’ fifth attempt and then secured the win when its freshman keeper Bickel made a kick save on a Ben Steve attempt.
“It hurts tonight but it will make us stronger tomorrow for sure,” Fajardo said. “We will come back and be better tomorrow.”
Monday’s meeting of MVC heavyweights was minus a few heavy hitters.
Cedar Rapids Washington played without Hammer, a first-team all-state midfielder for the entire match until the final minute.
City High was without its own all-state midfield Jonah Dancer and Jackson Meyer left in the second half and didn’t return.