Clear Creek Amana Stays Perfect at Home With Shootout Win Over Solon

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Photo by Jeff Yoder | Click to view gallery

Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

TIFFIN – Extra time can bring on the nerves for some soccer teams.

Overtime seems to bring out the best in Clear Creek Amana.

Class 2A No. 15 Clear Creek Amana won its fifth overtime match of the season on Tuesday 1-0 over 1A third-ranked Solon (13-5) via penalty kick shootout.

Senior goalkeeper Blake Malli came up with a pair of stops and converted a penalty kick himself as Clear Creek Amana edged Solon 4-3 in a penalty kicks.

“We hit overtime and we are more confident,” Malli said. “We are ready to play overtime. If we aren’t winning in the second half we are winning in overtime no matter what.”

The win was the 11th in 12 matches for Clear Creek Amana (11-3) which has thrived in close games all season.

Clear Creek Amana improved to 5-0 in overtime matches and 7-0 in matches decided by one goal with Tuesday’s win.

“They just keep playing, they compete,” Clear Creek Amana coach Tim Benson said. “They are really competitive they just don’t like to lose and I think our quality of play has risen throughout the year.”

Clear Creek Amana won three consecutive overtime games following an 0-2 start to the season to jumpstart an eight-match winning streak.

Tuesday’s win was the third consecutive one-goal win in a span of five days that helped Clear Creek Amana lock up a share of the WAMAC West Division title.

It was also the 100th career victory for Benson who was hit with a celebratory ice water shower by his team after the game.,

“It’s momentum,” Benson said. “Last year we had no momentum, it kind of went the opposite way where we lost a few close games and then you are losing four or five to nothing. This year it’s been the opposite. We had some closes matches with Benton, CPU and Vinton-Shellsburg and we found a way to get a goal and win it.”

Clear Creek Amana couldn’t find a way to get a goal on Tuesday but still found a way to get a win.

The Clippers converted their first two penalty kicks, and took a 3-2 lead when Malli converted his attempt after swatting away a shot by Solon senior Luke Yetley.  

“I kind of guess but I try to read their hips to see where they are going,” Malli said. “I just dive and try to get a deflection.”

Solon stayed alive in when senior Luke McInnis came up with a diving stop of a Rhabot Habte’s attempt but Clear Creek Amana secured the win when senior Julius Augustin drove in a shot off the finger tips of McInnis.

“We’d been perfect in PK situations until tonight and obviously they were upset about it but sooner or later you are going to come out on the wrong end of one of these,” Solon coach Jeremey McMurrin said. “McInnis did his job in goal. His job as a goal keeper in a shootout is to save one and if we make our we win and we didn’t make ours tonight.”

With the match on the line Augustin blasted a low shot that McInnis was able to get a hand on briefly but it sailed into the back of the net for the winner.

“I was nervous,” Augustin said. “I was so nervous. Rahabot is one of my best friends and he missed and he said make it for me and I was able to do it.”

The loss was the second straight for Solon which closes regular season play at WAMAC West Division co-champion South Tama on Thursday.

“We had some chances to put balls away but that’s a good team they are WAMAC champs for a reason,” McMurrin said. “Games like this its whoever puts their chances away wins.”

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