ANAMOSA - There is no predicting the weather, especially in Iowa.
That’s why Anamosa boys soccer coach David Stemper was so frustrated Monday, April 8.
Stemper figured when the second half rolled around, the sun and wind, which were at the Raiders’ disadvantage in the first half at Bellevue-Marquette, would help the team rally from a 2-0 halftime deficit.
But Mother Nature was not in a giving mood.
“This match was a tale of two halves,” said Stemper, as his team battled in the final 40-minutes, but succumbed to a hard-fought 2-0 defeat.
“Bellevue-Marquette played with the sun and wind at their backs throughout the first half, and one of their two goals was scored due to a direct influence of the sun. Then when we come out after halftime, the clouds start to roll in and the wind dies down a bit, and we don’t have anywhere near the advantage that they did in the game’s first 40-minutes.”
But it didn’t stop the Raiders from trying.
Anamosa (0-5, 0-2) managed eight shots at the Mohawk net, mostly in the second half, but could punch none of them past the host keeper.
“Bellevue-Marquette’s first goal went right off DJ’s (Reese) fingers,” Stemper said. “He struggled to pick up the ball because of the sun.
“Their second goal came on a defensive breakdown on our part, but I was happy with the way the guys battled. Of Marquette’s 10 total shots, only three came in the second half. We played right with them.”
Milton Moctezuma and Max Geitzenauer led Anamosa shooters with two attempts each at the Bellevue-Marquette goal while Maverick Tjaden, Matthew Walton, Kole Haverly and Josiah Sims all chipped in with one shot each.
Reese made eight saves tending the Raider goal.
“Milton and Matthew really played well together and gave us some great runs on offense,” Stemper said. “Milton is really off to a great start to the year.”
The road show continued at Mid-Prairie Thursday, April 11, where Anamosa played a game almost exactly like the one in Bellevue just three days earlier.
“Another tale of two halves and another hard-fought 2-0 loss,” Stemper said. “Mid-Prairie’s passing really took us a bit by surprise in the first half, but once we settled down, we made this a competitive soccer match in the second half.”
Much like their match against the Mohawks, the Raiders trailed 2-0 at the half but rallied to make a game of it, even while being out-shot 21-3.
“Milton and Landon Graham gave max effort in the midfield and worked really well together,” Stemper said. “Josiah put a lot of offensive pressure on Mid-Prairie, too. We just couldn’t quite get one through and into the goal.”
Reese played a sensational match at goalie, tallying 19 saves for the Raiders while Tjaden, Moctezuma and Sims all ripped one shot each at the Golden Hawks’ net.
“This was probably the biggest soccer field we’ll play on this year,” Stemper said. “Mid-Prairie has a very nice complex down here and for a while we struggled with the dimensions.”
The two teams also played a JV contest with the hosts winning a 4-0 final.
“The JV game was a lot more competitive than the final score shows,” Stemper said. “There was a lot of back-and-forth action and three of their goals came from a highly skilled played on their team dribbling through our defense.”
The Golden Hawks led 2-0 at the halftime break.