WEBSTER CITY - Four years is a long time to remember one brief moment of failure, but it's what drives Christian Lemus every time he stands in the middle of the pitch and stares down a goalkeeper.
One missed penalty kick long ago is still front and center in the memory bank of the Webster City senior midfielder, and he doesn't intend to relive the agony anytime soon.
He didn't last night.
DFJ photo by Troy Banning
Webster City sophomore Elser Meija (7) jumps into the arms of teammate Lucas Daniels following Daniels first-half goal that gave the No. 5-ranked (Class 2A) Lynx a 1-0 lead on No. 11 (1A) North Polk yesterday evening at Lynx Field in Webster City. The Lynx added a second half goal to win, 2-0.
Lemus - the go-to guy when the fifth-ranked (Class 2A) Lynx have a free shot - cranked in a penalty kick less than three minutes into the second half for an insurance goal in Webster City's 2-0 blanking of No. 11 (1A) North Polk on a frigid evening at Lynx Field. It was his team-best seventh goal of the season, the third coming off a penalty kick.
"When I was in the eighth grade my coach gave me a PK and I missed it, and since then I've told myself that I'm never going to miss another one and I haven't," Lemus said. "Every time I take a PK I just remember that promise I made to myself."
Saying it out loud, is Lemus worried he may have put the hex on himself?
WEBSTER CITY 2, NORTH POLK 0
At Lynx Field
North Polk (3-3)0 0-0
Webster City (7-1)1 1-2
Goals - WC: Lucas Daniels (37:53), Christian Lemus (42:40). Assists - WC: Nick Olmstead (37:53). Shots on goal - NP 6, WC 15. Saves - NP 10 (Garrett Ley 10), WC 3 (Austin Koons 3). Corner kicks - NP 4, WC 3. Yellow card - NP: Eric Bonewitz (36:20).
"Nope," he said with a grin on his face. "It's just all right, let's do it. Every time."
Lemus' free shot came after forward Jose Cruz was tackled as he raced down the left side inside the goal box. Cruz left the game a few minutes later with an injured leg after he collided with Comets' goalkeeper Garrett Ley on another run out.
WCHS (7-1) turned in its fifth shutout of the season against a dangerous North Polk (3-3) squad that beat No. 8 (2A) ADM Adel, 2-1, earlier this season.
The Lynx controlled play for 60 minutes and owned a 15-6 shots on goal advantage. But the final 20 minutes left head coach Craig Signorin grimacing, as the Comets applied the pressure. They took three of their four corner kicks during that span, yet weren't able to get the ball by goalkeeper Austin Koons, who finished with three saves.
"A win is a win and we played well for 60 minutes," Signorin said. "In the last 20, we just let up a little bit ... we were just a little lazy and that was from the front to the back. But (the Comets) were doing a good job of just putting it on us because they wanted to get one back."
North Polk's best chance came in the 54th minute off a corner kick, but Kyle Bower's shot in front of the net sailed over the crossbar.
Lucas Daniels notched his first goal of the season off an assist from Nick Olmstead in the 38th minute to break a scoreless tie and put WCHS in front for good.
Olmstead, who transitioned from defense to the front of the Lynx attack, broke contain down the right flank and lofted a pass towards Daniels in front of the net. Daniels headed the ball forward and then beat Ley to the ball; he was able to send it into the back of the net easily.
The Lynx offense opened up once Signorin moved Olmstead up top, as he used his speed and ball skills to press the ball forward. He had two shots on goal in a span of five minutes prior to his second assist of the spring.
"It's something we play around with because Olmstead has got some pretty good speed up top and he's not afraid to take guys one-on-one," Signorin said. "It gives the team another look at us."
But the coach is quick to say he's not about to permanently tinker with his veteran back line that is the bedrock of the team.
"Nick Olmstead is a starting defensive player ... that's about it," Signorin said.
That suits Olmstead just fine, too.
"I'm defense first, but I like to get my opportunities up top," Olmstead said. "If coach wants me up there, I'm more than eager to go up there and try to get some goals. But all of our players can pretty much play anywhere."
WCHS will return to its home turf on Friday for a match against always-tough Gilbert (2-3) at 5:30 p.m. The Lynx will follow it up with a road contest against North Central Conference rival Clear Lake next Tuesday.