Glenwood boys soccer state bound

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Rams 3-0 win over Harlan puts them in first round match with Wahlert Dubuque

By Joel Stevens, Associate Editor

    After his team scraped by Harlan 1-0 in a hard fought Hawkeye 10 Conference battle in April, Glenwood coach Mike Artist didn’t know what to expect from a Class 2A, Substate final match up with the Cyclones.
    Less than five minutes into the game, Artist had his answer. Trenton McNeel’s goal sailed through the net for a 1-0 lead to take the air right out of the unranked Cyclones’ upset bid over the No. 4 ranked Rams en route to a 3-0 victory that lands Glenwood into the state tournament.
    “Once Trenton got that goal in you could see them (Harlan) change,” said Artist. “It really affected them. We had a great attitude out there and played really, really well. We kept pounding and pounding them all game.”
    Glenwood (14-4) will face off against Dubuque Wahlert (9-9-1) in the opening round of the Class 2A State Soccer Tournament on Thursday at 2:30 p.m. at the Cownie Soccer Complex in Des Moines.
    Against Harlan, the Rams dominated from the opening kick.
    McNeel’s goal got the Rams on the board just five minutes into the game with a dart from 20 yards out. The score would remain at 1-0 into the game’s 69th minute when Joey Stivers streaked to the goal and booted in a nice touch pass from Steve Gutschenritter.
    A minute later, Tyler Jensen took matters into his own hands, weaved through a pair of Cyclone defenders and smacked a shot that goalkeeper Ben Kroger swatted away. But Jensen rebounded his own shot, booting it over Kroger’s head the second time, to seal the Rams’ third trip to state in the last four years.
    “We had some golden opportunities to put it away in the first half but we just missed on them,” said Artist. “Both halves we controlled the ball. They wanted to send it out to the corner and try to cross it on us but they never really threatened us. Their field is narrow so that took away a little of what we wanted to do but I’m really happy with how we played.”
    Artist, who announced earlier this season he would be stepping down after this season, has taken the Rams’ to six tournaments in his nine years as head coach. But in their five previous appearances the Rams advanced past the first round just twice, in 2002 and 2003.
    “That’s not really a monkey on our back, that’s a gorilla,” said Artist of his team’s first round struggles the last few years. “I think nerves played a factor last year. I don’t see that in this team. They’re focused. The attitude is different. For some of these kids this is their third trip to state. They know what’s expected and they’re ready to play and put those first round losses behind them.”
    The coach down played his stepping down could play in his team’s success this post-season.
    “The kids know about it and we’ve talked about it,” Artist said. “But I don’t want that to distract the kids or take away from what they’ve done. They did this themselves and worked their buts off to get here.”
Glenwood 3,
Carroll 0
    Goals by Blake Beier, Kyle Nolan and Joey Stivers lifted the Glenwood boys soccer team into the Class 2A, Substate 8 finals with a 3-0 semifinal victory over Carroll on Thursday.
    “It was good to see us play like we should,” said Glenwood coach Mike Artist. “We didn’t know a whole lot about them coming in and I guess we expected a little more out of them. It took us some time, we knew they were more defensive minded, but we broke through their defense. We could kind of tell after the first 15 minutes it was a matter of time.”
    Keeping six defenders in the box to slow the Ram offense, the Tigers held Glenwood scoreless with a 0-0 first half.
    After halftime, Glenwood got on the board in the opening minutes when Beier booted in a ball off a scramble around the net. The goal ignited the Rams and seemed to demoralize the unranked Tigers.
    “We kept telling the guys to keep playing their game, spread the field, keep taking shots on goal and some longer shots and that would open up the defense,” said Artist. “It worked out. The second half we came out firing.”
    Stivers added a rebound goal off a free kick and Nolan’s header off a corner kick capped the scoring.
    Ram sweeper Steve Gutschenritter returned to the line up against after a mid-season injury kept him out the final few game. Back and fully healthy to compete, Artist was happy to see his captain back out on the field.
    “It was good to have everybody back and in rotation and in the right mindset. We wanted to play like ‘we lose, we’re done’ and we did that. The boys were focused and played well.”
    Glenwood advanced to meet Harlan in Saturday’s substate final in Harlan. The Cyclones upset Denison 3-0 to advance to the final.