WEBSTER CITY - Teeth chattered, hands turned into popsicles, and players raced under blankets first and took drinks of water second when they came off the pitch on a bone-chilling evening at Lynx Field on Friday.
For a while that was OK with the Webster City girls' soccer team. But, eventually, the whipping winds and temperature that dipped into the low 30s took a toll.
Clinging to a 1-0 lead at halftime - an advantage that probably should have been greater - the Lynx were unable to withstand the Iowa Falls-Alden attack once the Cadets had the wind at their backs in the second half, as the visitors scored two goals during the final 40 minutes to claim a 2-1 victory.
DFJ photo by Troy Banning
Webster City’s Rachel Kauffman (left) and Sarah Paukert (center) attempt to use their bodies to put the ball in the back of the net off a throw-in during the second half Friday night at Lynx Field. WCHS held a 1-0 lead at intermission, but were unable to hold onto the advantage in a 2-1 loss to Iowa Falls-Alden.
Iowa Falls-Alden's Joebie Dennis scored the match-winner with 7:48 remaining. WCHS dropped to 1-3 on the season.
"Our girls played a good (match) overall and these conditions are really tough on the girls," WCHS head coach Greg Bock said as snow continued to sporadically spit down onto the turf following the clash. "We had a chance to win, but we just didn't convert when we needed to."
Senior midfielder Brenna Paukert gave WCHS a 1-0 lead in the 17th minute when she took a pass from her younger sister, Sarah, on a breakaway in the middle of the field. Brenna Paukert booted it into the lower land-hand corner of the net.
But with the wind at its backs during those first 40 minutes, WCHS needed an insurance goal or two and it had its chances. The Lynx were whistled offsides three times to eliminate potential attacks.
"We just didn't get as many goals as we needed in that first half. We needed two or three," Bock said. "But I'm not at all concerned (with the offsides calls) because (IF-A) was running a little short trap. It was a timing thing, but it shows aggressiveness. Brenna and Sarah were doing a real nice job with the passes."
Aubree Gilbreth drew the Cadets back to even less than 3 minutes into the second half when she came out of a scrum in front of the net with the ball on her foot, and she slammed it home to knot it at 1. A throw-in into the goal box sent bodies flying and back-up Lynx goalkeeper Maia Jaycox was unable to coral the ball before Gilbreth sent it into the net.
WCHS had two golden opportunities to seize the edge again over the next six minutes, but came up empty. Sophomore Molly Gilbert - the Lynx starting goalkeeper before shifting to a forward position for a large portion of the second half - missed by inches as her shot smacked off the crossbar. Just three minutes later, Gilbert again broke free, but sent a shot sailing wide right of the goal.
"We had three or four real good opportunities in the second half and we just didn't convert, and that was disappointing," Bock said.
Gilbert moved back to goal for the final 10 minutes, but she was unable to get her hands on Dennis' late shot. Standing just a few feet in front of Gilbert, Lynx senior sweeper Rachel Kauffman attempted to send a Cadets' attack out of the zone, but her kick went straight to Dennis, who flicked it into the open side of the net on the left.
"We had a little miscommunication back there and, with the wind, the ball was bouncing really funny back there," Bock said. "But we thought Molly played very good in goal."
WCHS had one last gasp in the final 20 seconds with a free kick from 40 yards out, but into the wind, Sarah Paukert's boot towards the goal fell well short.
IF-A owned a 14-12 shots on goal advantage, including an 8-3 edge in the second half. Gilbert finished with 10 saves; Jaycox collected three.
The Lynx will be off until Friday when they host Collins-Maxwell-Baxter at 6 p.m. Brenna Paukert says she's hopeful she'll be able to put away the tights, headbands and gloves by then.
"(This) week is supposed to be warmer, so we'll see," she said. "When it's this cold, it hurts when you get hit with the ball because you're already freezing."