Boys' Soccer: HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE
By BRANDON HURLEY
A three-game losing streak certainly seems a thing of the past.
The eighth-ranked Greene County Rams (12-5) opened postseason play with a bang Monday night, disposing of St. Albert to the tune of a 7-1 victory, securing their fourth straight triumph.
The Rams were of course aided yet again by one of the most lethal offensive weapons in state history, as Junior Gutierrez added to his remarkable total with five more goals, becoming just the fourth player in Iowa to surpass the 50 goal mark.
The junior now sits at 51 goals, which far and away gives him the state lead this spring and ties him for the fourth most goals ever along with Fairfield’s Solomon Constant.
Only Des Moines Christian’s Ben Webster (61) and Iowa Falls-Alden’s Marcos Vila (62) stand in the way of history, as the Rams turned their attention to 13th-ranked Riverside Wednesday in the Class 1A substate semifinals. Results of the May 22 semifinal were not available at press time.
Junior Cael Fisher made his long-awaited return to goal Monday night, securing five saves while only giving up a single goal. Greene County led 1-0 at the break before exploding for four goals in the opening 10 minutes of the second frame.
The Rams pushed the lead to 6-0 before St. Albert (2-16) eventually got on the board, eliminating the shutout.
Austin Delp and Luis Velazco each scored a goal apiece while Delp, Gutierrez, Isaiah Losee and Nathan Black all tallied an assist.
The Rams have ripped off four consecutive victories after losing back-to-back-to-back contests against Regina, Gilbert and Nevada earlier this month. Since then, Greene County has out-scored their four opponents, 29-4.
Velazco is currently 11th in the state in scoring with 25 goals, which is the eighth best mark in Class 1A. Together, Velazco and Gutierrez have combined for 76 goals, more than every team in Iowa outside of five schools. The duo has scored more goals than Waukee, Valley, Dowling and many other 3A schools.
The Rams have not only set the school record for wins in a season (12), but they’ve also shattered the previous mark for goals, as they sit at 99 (second in Iowa), an average of 5.8 goals per game, one away from the elusive 100-goal mark. The Rams could become just the ninth team in state history to reach the three digit mark, as AHSTW has already crossed that plateau this spring, the eighth team to do so. Des Moines Christian set the all-time Iowa record a year ago, scoring 130 total goals en route to their runner-up finish in Class 1A.
The Rams scored 76 goals last spring in 19 games, as they’ve witnessed a 23 goal improvement in two less contests.
Greene County was in action again Wednesday in Oakland as they squared off against 13th-ranked Riverside, who captured a 4-0 victory over Logan-Magnolia Monday night. Riverside (12-3) was riding a seven-game winning streak, having scored 64 goals, the eighth best total in Class 1A.
Wednesday’s winner likely faces off against sixth-ranked AHSTW at 12 p.m. Saturday in the substate 8 final in Oakland. The Vikings (17-2) lead all of Iowa with 109 total goals, which is currently the sixth-highest total in state history.
AHSTW’s 16-game winning streak was recently snapped at the hands of Kuemper Catholic, as the Knights prevailed 4-2 back on May 17. Greene County defeated KHS 1-0 in a rain-shortened contest a night prior on May 16.
AHSTW is led by Brayton Tuma, who has scored 29 goals in 16 games, the fifth highest total in the state. The Vikings have also only allowed 16 goals against, an average of 0.88 goals against per game.
Saturday’s winner advances to the 2019 state tournament, which will be held May 30-June 1 in Des Moines.