Lynx trek towards state begins tonight

WEBSTER CITY – The goal from Day 1 of the soccer season has been cut and dry.

State. State again. State or bust.

The 10th-ranked Webster City boys’ soccer team has put itself in position to make a repeat trip to the state tournament, as only two wins separate the Lynx from journeying back to Des Moines.

But those two victories won’t be easy to obtain.

WCHS (9-3-1) will attempt to conquer the first obstacle tonight when it hosts 14th-ranked Waverly-Shell Rock (10-4) at 6:30 p.m. in a Class 2A Substate 2 semifinal on the pitch at Lynx Field.

The Go-Hawks – winners of four of their last five matches – advanced to the semifinal with a 6-1 drubbing of Humboldt on Monday. The Lynx received a quarterfinal-round bye.

The winner of tonight’s bout will push on to Saturday’s Substate 2 final against either third-ranked Hudson (13-2) or Clear Lake (11-4) at Hudson. Play is scheduled to start at noon.

The Lynx and Go-Hawks haven’t met this season, but WCHS coach Craig Signorin was in attendance in Waverly on Monday and he walked away thinking there are quite a few similarities between the two clubs.

“We are surprisingly alike,” he said. “They are pretty talented up top and very technical in the middle.”

W-SR has scored 39 goals this season to 32 for WCHS. The Go-Hawks have given up 14 goals, while Lynx goalkeeper Austin Koons – an all-state selection last year during his program’s first-ever run to the state tournament – has surrendered just 10.

But WCHS enters needing to reclaim some of the momentum it had early in the year when it reeled off six consecutive victories to start the season. The Lynx step into the postseason with just one win in their last four outings, which included a regular-season ending tie with Humboldt because of weather.

W-SR possesses a talented scorer in Tanner Hanks, who has accounted for 17 goals and 16 assists this season. Isaiah Mundell (9) and Tyler Hughes (6) have combined for 15 more.

WCHS has spread the wealth around this season; 11 different players have punched at least one goal into the back of the net.

Senior midfielder Christian Lemus is the architect with nine goals and five assists. Senior forward Samuel Boman has six goals, and junior forward Brandon Jessen has four.

But WCHS has the advantage when it comes to aggression, particularly from close range. The Lynx have taken 12 penalty kicks – the fifth-most in 2A – and converted on 10. The Go-Hawks are 0-for-1 on penalty kicks.

Lemus has the go-to leg; he’s 4-for-4 on PKs.

Statistics aside, Signorin says tonight’s clash will come down to one simple thing.

“Whoever wants it more,” he said. “It should be a good match up.”