Playing what coach Walton Ponce called “probably the best game of the season,” the West Liberty High School Comet soccer team remained unbeaten after six games, taking a 3-1 win over hosting Class 2A Clear Creek Amana Monday evening.
It was quite the game for senior Josh Zeman, who assisted team leading scorer Jahsiah Galvan on his two goals and then put a goal into the net himself unassisted to guide the team to victory. Coach Ponce said the sixth win of the season showed great signs for the team in terms of how they played even though the Comets missed a number of opportunities to score.
“We had a great performance from our two center backs, Felipe Molina and Bryan Martinez,” Ponce said. “They shut out any attack they had and did a great job building our attack from the back.”
The Comets were happy to get the game under their belt after missing two outings due to inclement weather, noting an additional couple of wins on their season mark could have put the team among the top two in the state in Class 1A rankings.
“We will try to reschedule them but whether we play or not, the boys are training great and what's most important is that we are maintaining a healthy roster which is going to be critical for the success of our team,” the coach said, noting they’ve only missed the season opener with Muscatine in late March and Friday’s outing at Columbus.
The coach said he’s excited to take on some tough opponents and says one outing he’s really looking forward to is this Thursday, April 28, when the Comets host Iowa City Regina beginning at 6:30 p.m.
He said West Liberty has never beaten Regina in soccer and says he wants to change that history, hoping to “make that a first.”
The Comets also have a big outing at Alburnet on Friday, April 29, beginning at 5 p.m. and will host Monticello in a make-up game on Saturday, beginning at 6 p.m., preceded by a girls game at 4 p.m. But Ponce insists, “Thursday is our focus. Looking beyond Thursday would be a mistake on our end.”
The coach said weather conditions this year have been among the worst ever. “The game against West Branch was played in horrible conditions. I don't remember the last time I have either coached or played in 40 mph winds with the temp at 34 degrees,” Ponce said. “The field was awful and that contributed to the score being close against them.”
The coach said his team played a “phenomenal game against Clear Creek, missing a handful of one-on-one’s with their goalie, making the game “a lot closer than what it truly was.” The coach said his team respects all their opponents and “know that we can be beat.”
“With our record and ranking, we know teams will come at us with their best,” Ponnce said. “That being said, not all games should be drastic like 10 to 0. We hope actually to play more games that are challenging and prepare us to face the best competition for what the postseason may bring.
The coach is also looking forward to getting Juan Mateo and Pascual Pedro back on the team this Thursday. Mateo was in the top three scorers in the state last year and he is now a year older and with another full year of soccer under his belt.
“We have missed him and are excited for what he will be able to bring to our squad.,” the coach said. Pedro is a young sophomore but will provide some quality time off the bench most likely but also “is a player that we can benefit of having back.”
In that West Branch game reported in the Index last week, Jahsiah Galvan and Adrian Frausto both scored goals for the Comets in the contest. Juan Bautista recorded the Comets lone assists and Ruben Meraz made three saves for the Comets in net.