Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – Every team is looking for a strong start in a match with stakes as high as a substate final.
There are strong starts and then there is what City High did in the opening 15 minutes on Saturday.
Echeke Mausa scored the first of three City High goals in the opening 15 minutes just 77 seconds into the match as 3A fourth-ranked City High rolled to a 5-0 win over Ottumwa (13-6) in the 3A, Substate 5 title game at the University of Iowa Soccer Complex.
“Coach told us this game matters a lot and we need to put it away as fast as possible,” Mausa said. “That’s what I had in my mind and it was a great start.”
Hunter teDuits and John Clark added goals before the match was 15 minutes old as City High (16-4) returned to the 3A state tournament for the seventh consecutive season.
City High will face third-ranked Bettendorf (14-2) in the Class 3A quarterfinals on Thursday at 5:05 p.m. at Cownie Soccer Complex in Des Moines.
“It’s a huge accomplishment and I told them at the beginning don’t get tired of success get tired of failure,” City High coach Jose Fajardo said. “Change when you fail but don’t get tired of success.”
The win on Saturday was the fifth straight for City High, all via shutout, as the Little Hawks have outscored opponents 22-0 since a 1-0 loss at Dubuque Wahlert on May 8.
City High has scored three or more goals during its current five-match winning streak after scoring more than two goals just four times in its previous nine games.
“I think that this is a good way to finish before state for sure,” Fajardo said. “The last few games with no goals against and scoring some games that shows discipline and shows that we are doing well as unit.”
City High took the drama out of Saturday’s substate final early.
Mausa started the first-half onslaught when he broke free down the sideline and slipped a shot into the lower left corner for his second goal of the season less than two minutes into the game.
“It was a great touch forward and just looked up and tried to have some composure and hit it in with my left,” Mausa said. “We wanted to get off to a good start earlier in the match so that we didn’t have to worry about starting later so I guess that was the plan and it worked out well.”
City High didn’t let up.
Hunter teDuits made it 2-0 when he scored his first goal of the season on a header just more than two minutes later.
“That forst goal just brought everyone up,” teDuits said. “We knew we could do it after that and after that it was just about trying to get more.”
City High all but put the way away before the midway point of the first half.
Clark made it 3-0 with the first of his two goals with 25:14 left in the opening half.
“Throughout a lot of games we have found that we’ve been unlucky with our finishes and our balls through,” Clark said. “Today it just clicked and we knew it would eventually.”
On a day with temperatures in the 90s the early lead was too much for Ottumwa to overcome.
City High added goals in the second half from Ben Steve and Clark, who put the finishing touches on the emphatic win with his team-leading 18th goal in the final minute. “It has become expected to go to state but we know that we still can’t take it for granted,” Clark said. “Especially with weather like this we weren’t going to take anything for granted.”