Rebels fall short of state, defeated on penalty kicks

WATERLOO – When Waterloo Columbus finally got the open space Gladbrook-Reinbeck had tried so hard to limit for 80 minutes, the Sailors took full advantage.

The defending Class 1A state champions capitalized on four of their five penalty kicks and goalkeeper Jon Maas made two huge saves to get third-ranked Waterloo Columbus past the No. 9 Rebels, 2-1, in Tuesday’s Substate 2 title bout between two all-too-familiar postseason boys’ soccer foes.

The last time they met in substate play, Gladbrook-Reinbeck earned the program’s only state tournament appearance to date with a 3-2, come-from-behind victory over the Sailors in 2009.

On Tuesday night, in a rescheduled meeting of Saturday’s rain-out, the Sailors secured their third consecutive state bid by surviving Gladbrook-Reinbeck’s rally and making one of their own in the shootout.

“They did what they had to do to win,” G-R head coach Kirk Dinsdale said of the Sailors, who also eliminated his team from the postseason in both 2006 and 2007. “But never been prouder of a bunch of kids than I am of my guys. They fought through some adversity the last couple of weeks, they picked their chins up and they played better as a team because of it.”

Columbus (14-2) peppered Rebel freshman netminder Josh Cooley for much of the first half, finally finding a way around him at the 34:47 mark. Cooley’s countless diving stops could preserve the scoreless tie for only so long, as the Sailors used a little misdirection to convert a free kick from 22 yards out. Collin Beyer faked on the attempt and Isaac Squires sent the perfect shot around G-R’s wall of defenders and into the net for a 1-0 lead.

Gladbrook-Reinbeck’s offense was hard-pressed to find any scoring chances, let alone quality opportunities throughout regulation. The Rebels’ scoring leader, Chase Clark, faced a double-team most of the night and was shadowed everywhere he went.

But eventually all the added attention around Clark created room for other G-R players to shoot, and Dustin Dinsdale finally got the Rebels (11-6) on the board when he hotwired a shot from 35 yards away over a leaping Maas and under the crossbar for the tying tally with 15:08 left in regulation.

It was one of only three shots on goal in regulation for the Rebels, but it created new life for the squad. The resultant momentum made for a pair of thrilling, back-and-forth overtime sessions in which Gladbrook-Reinbeck got four shots on goal to the Sailors’ two.

Shawn Dugan launched a pair of free kicks on net during the initial overtime period, his first of which resulted in a rebound right in front of Clark. The junior was just a step too late to beat Maas back to the ball, and the 1-1 tie remained.

The Rebels kept the heat on with a corner kick and a throw-in deep in Columbus territory in the final 30 seconds of the first overtime, but none of it amounted to the golden goal G-R so badly wanted.

Clark nearly found his way free of a scramble situation in the second overtime, coralling a corner kick but sending a shot just wide of the net.

When 100 minutes was not enough to break the tie, the two postseason rivals headed to a shootout. Clark, who had been virtually unbeatable from any angle in regulation, celebrated as Alex Bernt’s intial penalty kick dribbled wide of the net.

Camden Kickbush gave the Rebels their first lead of the night when he scored past Maas on G-R’s first attempt.

Beyer tallied to even things up for the Sailors, but Bennett Petersen regained a 2-1 edge for the Rebels through two rounds. But Day Reh, David Jaramillo and Jui Leyo each scored to Cooley’s left, and Maas guessed correctly on both Clark and Wyatt Swanson – making Leyo’s goal the winner, 4-2.

“We had some golden opportunities in overtime, so when it goes to a shootout, these things happen,” said Dinsdale. “Like I told the guys in the huddle, I think we’ve got the best goalie in the state, and I’ll take the group of kids I have every time.”

The win for Waterloo Columbus was its 12th straight, including a 4-1 semifinal whitewashing of Denver. The loss for Gladbrook-Reinbeck was its fourth in its last nine outings, two of which were to teams it had previously defeated.

“We didn’t have a lot of numbers,” Dinsdale said, “but they dug down and found what it took to get this far.”

The match marked the final soccer outing for G-R seniors Austin Harris, Jackson Clark and Alex Schick, but the rest of the roster returns next year for the Rebels.

Waterloo Columbus, meanwhile, will make its school’s seventh state tournament appearance starting Thursday at the James W. Cownie Soccer Park in Des Moines. The Sailors are seeded second and will start their title defense by facing 11th-ranked West Liberty (9-6-3) in the quarterfinals.