Everyone strives for perfection, but few ever truly achieve it.
The Newton girls soccer team (10-1) faced that harsh reality on Friday night when its 10-game undefeated streak to start the season came to an end at the hands of ADM, Adel-Van Meter (6-5) at home, 2-1. It was a difficult Senior Night for the girls, who had hopes of an undefeated season.
The Cardinals didn’t play poorly, but they encountered some bad luck in the first half, when with about 20 minutes left to play, ADM had a ball that was crossed into the front of the net and resulted in an own goal on an attempt by Newton to clear. ADM did not have another shot on goal that half.
“I told the girls to forget about the own goal. Forget about the first half,” Newton coach Sackda Viravong said. “They did a good job of keeping their heads up and not getting down on themselves about the first half. I’m proud of the way they kept fighting.”
Newton was able to tie the game with about 25 minutes to go in the second half on a goal by Macy Leonard. Senior Kaylie Rhoads had a shot on goal that the ADM keeper was unable to secure, allowing Leonard to follow up with the tap in to tie the game for the Cards.
“After that goal, I though the momentum was really going to shift for us,” Viravong said. “It was a nice shot by Kaylie, and Macy did a really good job of finishing it off.”
However, the own goal would prove to be costly as the only true ADM goal of the game would prove to be a game winner. The Cards tightened up their defense in the second half, but on one possession ADM was able to operate in space with very little pressure. They got the ball into a striking position and were able to lift the ball over Newton keeper Emily Forsyth’s head for what turned out to be the game winner.
Despite the loss, Newton Viravong was still mostly encouraged by the effort from his team against what he considered a premium opponent.
“They were a pretty top-ranked team last year,” Viravong said. “The own goal was unfortunate, but other than that, I thought we played our best. They only got one shot at the net against us, and they capitalized.”
The Cards didn’t possess the ball as they normally would, but when they did, they were still able to generate some good chances. The first Newton chance came just 30 seconds into the game when Amber Karsten had a shot that was scooped up by the ADM keeper. There were several other chances early that just skated wide of the post or went over the bar.
“We had some chances that didn’t amount to goals,” Viravong said.” But that’s soccer, we’ve got to finish those chances next time.”
Newton’s next game is at home on Tuesday night when they host Lincoln High School from Des Moines, which should be a bit of a tuneup before they battle Pella for the LHC title on Thursday.