Soccer : All Conference
By BRANDON HURLEY
The success of the inaugural soccer season continues to resonate, long after the final whistle.
Two of the state’s top goal scorers earned significant postseason honors as Greene County’s Leo Marques and Junior Gutierrez were named to the 2018 Heart of Iowa all-conference teams this month.
Marques and his 36 goals were awarded with first team accolades while Gutierrez, a sophomore, was selected to the second team, the first such postseason honors in program history.
The duo led the Rams on a triumphant journey during the school’s first-ever soccer endeavor, securing a top 15 ranking just three weeks in, and a milestone-setting postseason win.
Marques’ school record scoring mark was the third best total in the entire state across all classes and were second most in Class 1A thanks to unmatched speed, determination and precision.
Des Moines Christian’s Ben Webster led the entire state with 61 goals, just two off the Iowa High School record.
Gutierrez’s electrifying and often dizzying footwork allowed him to chip in 19 goals of his own, which was 11th in 1A and second in the Heart of Iowa Conference. The sophomore scored a game-high four goals in the Rams’ first-ever playoff game, an 11-2 win over Unity Christian.
Marques scored a single-game Greene County record six goals on two different occasions and helped the Rams win 10 games, finishing 10-9 overall. The senior Brazilian foreign exchange student produced 59 shots (second most in 2A), a shot percentage of 61 percent.
Marques was also honored with a selection to the East vs. West All-Star game, which is set for Saturday in West Des Moines. Unfortunately, Marques, who was slated to be one of the two starting forwards on the West side, cannot attend as he flies back to Brazil that same day. Greene County head coach Carl Behne relayed the humbleness Marques displayed following his all-star selection.
“He was extremely honored to be recognized and named to this team and is heartbroken that he will not be able to play one final game here in the United States before he leaves to go home and see his family,” the coach said.
As a team, Greene County scored 76 goals in 19 games, the seventh best mark in the entire state across all classes and the fifth highest total in 1A. The Rams 10-goal mercy-ruled three opponents (Carroll, Nodaway Valley and Panorama), scoring double-digit goals in four games. The Rams lost in a hard-fought, back and forth contest, 3-2 at the hands of Kuemper Catholic in the second round of substate action.
Iowa City Regina captured the Class 1A state championship, knocking off Des Moines Christian, 2-1 in the final June 2.
HOIC members Nevada and Gilbert both qualified for the state tournament, where the Tigers won their quarterfinal match before falling to eventual champion, Regina.