Shutout City: Ballard blunder helps Lynx coast to opening win

WEBSTER CITY – It wasn’t perfect because openers never are. Throw in the fact that two freshmen and a slew of other inexperienced players stepped onto the pitch and you’ll understand why a win – however it occurred – was good enough for the 15th-ranked (Class 2A) Webster City boys’ soccer team yesterday evening at Lynx Field.

A Ballard blunder in the first half translated into an own goal and WCHS tacked on an insurance goal late in the second half to get by the Bombers, 2-0, much to the pleasure of head coach Craig Signorin.

“We’re proficient, but nothing more than that right now,” Signorin said. “You can’t expect too much right now, especially with this young group of guys, but we’re going to keep working.”

Freshman Ashton High got the call in net for the Lynx and proceeded to make five saves. Classmate Cole Briese also looked solid on defense and sweeper Connor Foster, just a sophomore, cleaned up numerous attacks on the part of the Bombers.

“I think a lot of those guys (were nervous),” Signorin said. “Cole Briese, I don’t know how much experience he had last year, but he looked solid and Ashton made one big save for us and he looked good back there.

“We’re playing a sweeper position just because we’re inexperienced and not as fast as we have been in the past and Connor did a good job for us. He just has to have a stronger voice, but we’ll work on that.”

WCHS (1-0) owned a 16-13 advantage in shots, including a 10-6 shots on goal edge.

The Lynx took the lead for good in the 22nd minute when a Ballard defender attempted to clear the ball out of the zone, but instead sent it bounding into the left corner of his own goal.

With the wind at their backs in the second half, the Bombers went on the attack early. They rifled off the first five shots – only one on goal – before WCHS finally regained the advantage in the 52nd minute.

The Lynx blasted eight of the final 11 shots.

“It’s the first game so we were a little rusty,” Signorin said. “We were probably a little laid back with the one-goal lead (to start the second half), but then we kind of controlled things.”

Two of the team’s veterans – Demar Lemus and Seth Crouthamel – hooked up for the insurance goal. Lemus broke free from a defender on the left flank and fired a pass across the field in the direction of Crouthamel, who took it and bombed it past a diving Alexander Silberstein – the Bombers’ keeper – inside the left post.

“This being our first game we wanted to get our own (goal) and there were some chances,” Signorin said. “But I’m not going to not take that first (goal).”

Silberstein made eight saves in goal for the Bombers (0-1)

WCHS will make its first road trip on Monday when it travels to Humboldt.