GILBERT - Running around in circles, jumping up and down, basically doing anything and everything to create a crack in the defense's psyche - that's the plan each time Webster City takes a corner kick.
It works, too.
It doesn't hurt to have a precision kicker in the corner like Christian Lemus and an athletic, ball-hawking bunch inside the goal box either.
DFJ photo by Troy Banning
WCHS junior Christian Lemus (17) tries to stay on his feet after splitting a pair of Gilbert defenders near midfield in the first half on Friday in Gilbert. Lemus had two assists in the Lynx 2-1 win, their ninth straight.
Corner kicks were the difference on a blustery Friday evening that turned from pleasant temperatures to downright cold in a matter of minutes, as Webster City scored both of its goals off set plays in a 2-1 victory over Gilbert. Kirk Greenley and Caleb Crouthamel were the recipients of Lemus' gem boots in front of net and the Lynx won their ninth straight match to improve to 13-2-1 on the season.
"I set (the corner kicks) up to make them as fun as possible," WCHS head coach Craig Signorin said. "The guys are running around and we're frustrating teams because they don't know where we're going to go, and these guys like to go up there and get it."
WCHS held a 10-1 edge on corner kicks, and the Lynx outshot Gilbert (7-6) 20-8. Still, the outcome was in doubt up until the moment the Tigers kicked the ball out of bounds behind the WCHS goal with 10 seconds remaining, and that didn't sit well with Signorin.
"Gilbert is a pretty solid team, but you cannot let down in the last 10 or 15 minutes like we did," he said. "They were pushing guys forward and when we have guys on the offensive third (of the field) not getting back it gets pretty frustrating trying to protect a lead.
"I could tell before the (match) that it was going to be tough because the guys looked pretty lackadaisical and it showed, but they got it done and I guess we can't be too disappointed."
Scoreless throughout the first 40 minutes, WCHS struck first with Greenley's goal in the 48th minute. Lemus' curving floater into the zone forced Tigers' goalkeeper Karl Nicholson to dive in an attempt to bat the ball away, but he only got fingertips on it and Greenley was all alone on the backside of the goal to flick the ball into the open net from just a step in front of the goal line. It was his fourth goal of the season.
But Gilbert answered just 30 seconds later off the restart when Zach Pahl got behind the Lynx back line and beat keeper Austin Koons on the high side to square the match at 1.
"We were just kind of undisciplined back there on that goal," Signorin said. "We just weren't on our toes and they went right by us."
It stayed even until the 56th minute when Crouthamel soared higher than the Tigers' defenders and headed the ball into the upper right-hand corner for his 13th goal of the spring.
It was the team-best 12th assist of the season for Lemus.
Gilbert rifled four of its six second-half shots on goal over the final 15 minutes in an attempt to draw even again, but three of the shots sailed wide of the mark and Koons was able to corral the other, one of his three saves on the evening.
WCHS will face another test today when it hosts rival Clear Lake (6-5) at Lynx Field at 5:30 p.m. The Lynx beat the Lions, 1-0, earlier this month.