WAVERLY - A shootout victory in its first match of the day against a ranked opponent provided a boost of confidence for the Webster City boys' soccer team here on Saturday, as the Lynx exited the Waverly-Shell Rock Tournament with three wins and a pool title.
Webster City blanked 13th-ranked (Class 2A) and previously unbeaten Benton Community in the shootout, 3-0, and followed it up with wins over Western Dubuque, 3-1, and Gilbert, 3-1, to run its record to 11-2-1 heading into this week's matches against Iowa Falls-Alden on Thursday and Gilbert on Friday.
The Lynx have won seven consecutive bouts since it last lost to second-ranked (2A) and unbeaten Hudson, 2-0, back on April 14.
"The guys are just in a groove right now," WCHS head coach Craig Signorin said. "We didn't really lose anybody (off last year's team), and we're playing the style that I want to play right now. And I think that first loss (of the season) to Ballard might have done some good too, just to open their eyes and see that the perfect season was out the window."
The Lemus brothers, Christian and Demar, and Aaron Hoffman belted in goals in the shootout against Benton, while goalkeeper Austin Koons denied all three shots to give the Lynx the upset win.
"I just told Koons to take his time and make them think about it, and he did a really good job," Signorin said. "It wasn't our best stuff, but coming out and getting the win was pretty big."
WCHS dominated Western Dubuque, holding a 22-9 edge in shots on goal. Senior leader Caleb Crouthamel added to his already bloated goals total with a hat trick; he scored in the second and 25th minutes in the first half to stake the Lynx to a 2-0 lead, and then rifled another shot - his 11th goal of the season - into the net in the second half.
Christian Lemus, Brandon Jessen and Garrett Gourley provided the assists.
"We played really well against Western Dubuque," Signorin said. "We really dominated that game."
Crouthamel provided all three assists in the pool-championship match against Gilbert, which was called with 15 minutes remaining because of the weather. Christian Lemus, Gourley and Jessen all scored goals.