All good things must come to an end. However, that will have to wait for another day as the Newton girls soccer team (7-0, 2-0 Little Hawkeye Conference) was able to scrape out a win in its closest game of the season, keeping their undefeated streak alive with a 1-0 victory over the Bobcats of Marshalltown.
Coach Sackda Viravong, who typically gives his team a grade after the game, had one ready for his team immediately following this one.
“This was an A game,” Viravong said. “In these conditions with the ball skipping, it’s really tough. We were able to get that goal early and they held on. I was happy with the way they fought because we haven’t really gotten a chance to get a win like this yet. It was nice to see their toughness.”
On a rainy evening at H. A. Lynn Field, the goals were not coming with the same regularity that the Cardinals are used to, but they showed their toughness in what was a physical game that included some final minute scares. The Newton goal came early on into the game as freshman Victoria Jordan put one into the right side of the net to put the Cardinals ahead with 30:02 remaining in the first half.
There was plenty of back and forth possession early on. The rain had a clear effect on the play with the ball skimming and bouncing with each possession. Marshalltown had their chances as well. An early scoring chance in the Newton box was cleared out by senior Kaylie Rhoads with 19:00 to go in the first.
Newton had plenty of chances to score, but the Marshalltown keeper was able to consistently bat balls away and grab loose balls that came into her space. With 11:30 to go in the first. Junior Amber Karsten missed the net by inches to the left on what might have been a goal on a sunny day.
The second half started with good possession for Newton. The girls came out with an increased sense of urgency, which was evident in their early second half scoring opportunities. Karsten led a breakaway for the Cardinals and had her shot saved at 39:00 to go. She also made a nifty move later on with about 30 minutes left in the half that led to a clear shot by sophomore Macy Leonard, but that was saved as well.
The offense then shifted to the left side of the attack for the Cardinals. Jordan had two possessions in particular that presented scoring opportunities. She had a solid cross into the box at 28:22, which was scooped up by the keeper. Two minutes later she had a clear shot on net, but that was saved as well. At the 25:34 mark, Leonard had a clear shot, but it sailed just over the crossbar. Several other shots were near misses for Newton. The Cardinals were able to win a game in which they clearly did not have their best, which is what good teams must be able to accomplish.
Viravong knows his team can improve, and he knows they want to as well.
“I know they want that A-plus grade,” Viravong said. “They are getting there. We need to improve our spacing on offense and not get so bunched up. Our passing is good. We need to finish those scoring opportunities.”
The team’s next game is scheduled for Friday night at home against Perry.