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SPRING AWAKENING

Lynx first match since 2019 ends in loss

Webster City senior Martin Kasonga (front) wins the battle for a free ball against Gilbert’s Nash Hason during the first half yesterday evening at Lynx Field. The Tigers scored a goal in the 44th minute to win the match, 1-0. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

WEBSTER CITY — Craig Signorin compared the butterflies in his stomach to sending his kids to school for the first time. The excitement was palpable as he stood on the sideline and coached his Webster City boys’ soccer team for the first time since May of 2019 yesterday evening.

The match didn’t go the Lynx way, but in some ways that was secondary. Just getting to play again — to run, to compete, to enjoy the sport — meant more than the story that the scoreboard told.

“I was nervous. It was like my first game again,” Signorin, the Lynx head coach, said following his club’s 1-0 loss to Gilbert in the season opener for both teams at Lynx Field. “It was brand new again. I’m disappointed things didn’t go our way, but there are good things to come.”

Prior to yesterday, WCHS (0-1) last stepped onto the pitch 681 days ago. Many veterans graduated over that time, leaving Signorin with an inexperienced roster in the opener and that was evident after Gilbert (1-0) scored the only goal in the 44th minute. Confident throughout the first half, the Lynx fell back on their heels and were never able to get a good run at a potential equalizer over the final 36 minutes.

“We were the better team until we gave up the goal,” Signorin said. “But it’s like I said in the locker room, I asked the kids to raise their hand if they’d started more than five times and only one kid did. So battling back, we don’t know how to do that yet. It’s new to us.”

WCHS goalkeeper Gage Rossing makes a diving save during the first half against Gilbert yesterday evening at Lynx Field. He made five stops in the Lynx 1-0 loss to the Tigers. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

How the ball found the back of the net was even tougher to take.

After an even first half, Gilbert dominated possession throughout the early minutes of the second. And less than four minutes in, Gilbert’s Zachary Holtan threw a crosser toward Jacob Kautman, who was surrounded by defenders hanging out on the left post. The ball ricocheted off the knee of WCHS defender Jake Lahr as he attempted to clear the pass and it arched over the head of Lynx goalkeeper Gage Rossing into the back of the net.

“The way they scored, it hurts, probably more than giving up a good goal,” Signorin said. “We were marked fine and (Lahr) felt like crap, but that happens.”

WCHS never sniffed the goal in the second half though. After owning a 3-1 shots on goal advantage in the initial 40, the Lynx didn’t put one shot on frame over the final 40. In fact, they only rifled off one attempt and that didn’t come until the 75th minute.

Signorin said the crisp passing and aggressive runs that allowed WCHS to challenge the net in the first half disappeared after the break. Gilbert certainly had something to do with that, but he says it’s a learning experience for his squad.

Lynx junior Everado Hernandez (12) attempts to clear the ball from Gilbert’s Alex Ruba (8) during the second half yesterday evening. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

“I thought if we could find the channel and get the ball going through … we would have a chance to take it to goal,” Signorin said. “But it was ugly (in the second half). We started playing kickball. I don’t think we connected two passes in the second half.”

Gilbert out-shot WCHS 9-1 in the second half. The Tigers owned a 5-0 shots on goal advantage and applied constant pressure with six corner kicks to none for the Lynx.

WCHS had several opportunities in the opening half, but was never able to finish. Freshman Eduardo Perez blasted a shot from outside the box that bounced off the arms of Gilbert goalie Justin Terry in the 23rd minute. The ball was rolling toward the goal, but Terry was able to crawl and get to the ball just before it crossed the line.

Kautman had a golden opportunity to get the Tigers on the board in the 34th minute when he beat Rossing to a ball inside the box. But his quick shot toward the open goal smacked off the left post and went wide.

Despite the loss, Signorin wasn’t discouraged. There were plenty of things he liked and plenty of correctable mistakes.

DFJ photo/Troy Banning

“This is one of the best teams we play,” he said. “(Gilbert head coach) B.J. (Jordison) is awesome with his guys. So our heads are going to be held high and we’ll go from there.”

WCHS will be back at home on Tuesday to take on Belmond-Klemme at 5:30 p.m.

Gilbert 1, Webster City 0

Thursday at Webster City

Gilbert 0 1 — 1

DFJ photo/Troy Banning

Webster City 0 0 — 0

Goal — Gilbert own goal (44th minute). Shots — Gilbert 13, WC 5. Shots on goal — Gilbert 6, WC 3. Saves — Gilbert 3 (Justin Terry), WC 5 (Gage Rossing). Corner kicks — Gilbert 6, WC 2.

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