Men’s soccer clamors for state berth

Ellen Gustavson/Staff Writer

The men’s soccer team is ready to enter substate as the underdog once again.

Although the team is seeded 8th as they were last year, they still stand a good chance for making it to State. The team won its first match of the season against Cedar Rapids Washington. They also beat their biggest rival, Waterloo West, with a score of 3-1.

Senior Omeed Kashef said he feels that talent is only one of the team’s strengths. “We know how to play a lot more creatively,” he said.

On the other hand, Kashef pointed out, “Our team is young, so we’re not as physical.” Despite this, the season has still seen a few injuries. Starting midfielder sophomore Peter Tran injured his knee and has just now begun to play again. Junior Brent Wilkins also injured his leg, among various other ailments.

Much of the team’s prowess comes from their unique reputation as a team emphasizing finesse–the finer points of the game–in a high school atmosphere dominated in all sports by a desire to pummel the other side. Instead, the Tigers are noted team players, anchored by solid goalie and West Point cadet-to-be Alex Clopton. Kashef, who experienced a position move to midfield during his final year of high school soccer, feels positively about this team’s abilities.

“If we go out and play like we can, we have the talent to hang with anybody,” Kashef said. “It’s really a pretty cool thing to be a part of.”

While the team has a diverse mix of talent, they are balanced and steady offensively. Kashef, for example, has scored a trio of goals during the season, as have a number of other players.

The team has won nine games and lost six in their season so far. They have a bye for the first round of the substate tournament, and tomorrow’s game of Mason City versus Waterloo West will determine who the Tigers play for their second round. They expect to play Cedar Rapids Washington again.

“If we can win those two games, we’ll make it to State,” Kashef said.

If the Tigers win the first round, the date and location for the next substate game is still to be announced.

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