PELLA — “All in” has been one of the more commonly-used phrases for the Newton boys soccer team this season, and on Thursday night, the Cardinals lived up to that saying.
After giving up two quick goals, the Class 2A No. 12 Cardinals tied the game back up, but couldn’t keep pace with the No. 9 Dutch, who earned a 4-2 victory and at least a share of the Little Hawkeye Conference title.
“Again, we just started off really slow, and it killed us,” Newton coach Tim Heger said. “They got those two quick goals, and we just have to come out more awake. We were in it for a while, but that’s what got us.”
The first score for the Dutch came just 2:32 into the game when freshman Noah Clayberg placed a deep kick into the upper left corner of the Newton net. Not even five minutes later, Pella struck again with a redirected header off a corner kick to go up 2-0 and steal the early momentum.
Although the Dutch controlled the ball for the next 10 minutes, the Cardinals cashed in on their first solid opportunity. At the 21:40 mark, senior Jesse Bates blasted a deep free kick high over the Pella keeper’s head to put the Cards on the board and swing a little momentum back their way.
Just when Newton was really picking up some steam, senior Tyler Hansen knotted the game at 2-2 with a sliding shot from the left corner of the field that somehow twisted its way into the top right corner of the net, touching off a big celebration from the Cardinals and their fans.
“I was very happy with how they responded to that and got those two goals right back,” Heger said. “It was definitely an off game defensively for us, but we just need to refocus again.”
It was the Cardinals’ turn to control the ball at that point, as they managed a few solid possessions before the game finally slowed down for both teams. Pella regained the momentum with just 6:06 left to play in the half when sophomore Christian Hamilton connected on a sliding shot off a corner kick to give Pella a 3-2 halftime lead.
Despite Newton controlling the ball in the early going of the second half, the Dutch scored the game’s final goal with 28:29 left to play on yet another header from a corner kick. The Cardinals kept attacking, but frustrations began to mount quickly.
“Pella got their two goals off two really good opportunities, and they didn’t really have any opportunities after that,” Heger said. “We had quite a few of our own, we just couldn’t put them away.”
The final 20 minutes of the game were marred with argued calls and three yellow cards — two of which were given to Newton. The Cardinals kept up their attack until around the six-minute mark, when Pella began to kill the clock. The already physical tone of the game was enhanced by the debated calls, which seem to be a mainstay when these two teams get together.
“Not to blame anything on the refs, but it’s tough for us to play when we don’t know what is going to get called and what isn’t,” Heger said. “That consistency was not there during this game. But we could’ve played better, and we need to put our chances away.”
The Cardinals will now have some time off before hosting the winner of Ballard and Perry in Class 2A second-round substate play at H.A. Lynn Field on May 22.