Eleven games ago, following a tough 2-0 loss to Omaha South to drop his team to 5-2 on the season, Glenwood soccer coach Mike Artist had to come to a decision:
Keep juggling his line up, searching for a right combination that might work or just stick with one line up and let the chips fall where they may.
Artist chose the latter.
And the Rams have never looked better, winning 11 straight, allowing just four goals in the streak and wrapping up their second district title in the past three seasons on Saturday with a dominating 5-0 victory over Harlan to send Glenwood to this week’s state soccer tournament.
“We had some guys in different positions and we were moving guys around and we decided we just had to get something set,” said Artist of his early season shuffling. “And we did and since then, it’s been working. I don’t know if we were confused or we didn’t know what our role was yet for positions but since then, everything has been working since we got our consistent starting 11 and our rotation in and out.”
Since the Sioux City North game on May 4, his Rams (16-2) have been “playing about as good as they can play,” he said.
“We’ve been consistent game to game since then,” Artist said. “Harlan, we beat them 3-1 about two weeks ago, and we came out and played well. We didn’t think it should be much of a game and it wasn’t. The boys were focused, they know exactly what they want to do and it was a fun win.”
What the Rams did was dominate the Cyclones from the opening whistle. Joey Stivers got on the board in the 24th minute. Taylor Kaufman added another score before halftime.
Blake Beier added two goals and Beau Johnson another in the second half goal.
In all, Glenwood outshot the Cyclones 39 to 6 on goal.
“The boys are flying high,” Artist said. “As far as I’m concerned, these guys have the confidence they can play with anybody right now.”
The No. 4 seeded Rams open state play at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday at the Cowie Soccer Complex in Des Moines against Decorah. Decorah was ranked No. 3 in the final Iowa High School Soccer Coaches Association rankings. Glenwood was ranked No. 4.
“They’re a tough team, I’m not sure how we got matched up with them looking at the rankings but they’re a good team. We feel pretty good about the match up,” he said. “I talked to the boys after we found out who we were playing and I wanted to let them know this is a tough match up but we’re confident.”
The Glenwood boys soccer team opened substate play with a 5-0 victory over Perry in Glenwood last Wednesday.
Trenton McNeel had two goals and Joey Stivers, Taylor Kaufman and Brian Lilly had one each.