WEBSTER CITY - Craig Signorin believed long ago, even when his players didn't.
"This goes back to that first meeting I had with the guys (last year) when I said the goal was always to get to the state tournament, and I heard crickets. I even heard some laughs," Signorin, Webster City's second-year boys' soccer coach, said. "But this year when I said that there wasn't a lot of laughter; the guys started believing."
Signorin and his players were rewarded for their determination on Saturday.
DFJ photo by Tracy Runneberg
WCHS senior Jonny Davis (4) looks for a header goal as Iowa Falls-Alden goalkeeper Alex Sundholm (in yellow) and teammate Noah Oelmann defend during Saturday’s Class 2A Substate 2 final at Lynx Field. Davis scored one goal to help WCHS win the match, 6-1, and qualify for its first state tournament.
State tournament: Here come the Lynx.
Behind the third hat trick in the last five matches from senior all-state candidate Caleb Crouthamel, 12th-ranked Webster City dissected Iowa Falls-Alden 6-1 in the Class 2A Substate 2 final at Lynx Field. The win sends the Lynx to the state tournament for the first time where, as the No. 4 seed, they'll face fifth-seeded and No. 8-ranked ADM Adel in a quarterfinal-round battle on Thursday at Cownie Soccer Park in Des Moines. Play will get underway at 2:30 p.m.
"These guys deserve this more than anybody," Signorin said. "The boys took care of business, and I just can't thank them enough, as well as the parents for their support throughout the year."
Class 2A State Pairings
Cownie Soccer Park
2:30 - (1) Dubuque Wahlert (11-6-1) vs. (8) Clear Creek-Amana (13-4), Field 9.
2:30 - (4) Webster City (18-2-1) vs. (5) ADM Adel (16-4), Field 8.
2:30 - (2) Pella (17-2-1) vs. (7) Spirit Lake Park-Okoboji (13-2-2), Field 6.
2:30 - (3) Norwalk (13-5) vs. (6) Cedar Rapids Xavier (8-8-1), Field 7.
2:30 - Wahlert/CC-Amana winner vs. Webster City/ADM winner, Field 9.
2:30 - Pella/SLP-Okoboji winner vs. Norwalk/Xavier winner, Field 6.
1:30 - Semifinal losers, Field 6.
2:30 - Semifinal winners, Field 9.
It was the third win of the season over the Cadets (9-10) and the 14th consecutive victory for WCHS (18-2-1), which last lost April 14 to third-ranked Hudson, 2-0. The Lynx avenged that loss in the substate semifinal round, 3-1.
After pulling off the upset, it would have been easy for WCHS to relax on Saturday, but it took the purple and gold less than 9 minutes to jump on the Cadets for good, and it started with Crouthamel.
The senior forward rocketed in the first of his three goals with 31:23 remaining in the first half, and the Cadets had no answer for his speed and agility throughout the 80-minute affair. He scored again in the 53rd minute on a penalty kick to push the Lynx lead to 5-0, and he finished the blowout off with his third goal off a Jonny Davis assist in the 78th minute.
Crouthamel, already the program's all-time goals leader, now has four tricks this season and 26 total goals - the fifth-best total in the class. He's rifled 15 goals into the net in the last seven matches and hasn't been held off the scoreboard since a 3-1 win over Gilbert in the final of the Waverly-Shell Rock Tournament on May 5.
"I think (Crouthamel) realizes that these are his final games and he's playing like it," Signorin said. "When he scores he makes everybody else better; he really picks up the team."
Freshman Demar Lemus bagged his fourth goal of the spring in the 17th minute and Davis tacked on his 16th goal less than 2 minutes later to send WCHS into the intermission with a commanding 3-0 lead.
Christian Lemus pushed the cushion to 4-0 in the 45th minute when he slid a penalty kick past Cadets' goalkeeper Alex Sundholm. Davis set up the free look at net after he dribbled the ball down the side of the field and was tripped up by Daniel Hampe in front of the net.
Lucas Daniels was fouled in the goal box to give Crouthamel his one-on-one chance that he won against Sundholm.
Iowa Falls-Alden avoided the shutout in the 72nd minute on a goal by Damon Dennis. Lynx keeper Austin Koons raced away from the net in an attempt to track down the ball, but Dennis got there and was able to slam it home.
Koons and the WCHS defense were stingy, as usual, throughout the remainder of the bout. The group has surrendered just six goals during the team's 14-match run, and no team has put more than one shot past Koons since the April loss to Hudson.
WCHS and ADM have one common opponent this season; both were beaten by Ballard. The Lynx dropped a 3-1 decision at the beginning of the season, while ADM fell to the Bombers 3-0.
"I'm sure every team is going to be of top quality down there, but we just need to go out and do our thing," Signorin said. "The guys know what we need to do."