State championship hopes scuttled for Clipper boys
DES MOINES– It wasn’t the ending they wanted, and the Clear Creek Amana (CCA) Clippers did everything they could to prevent it. In the end however, the Bluejays of Perry ended the Clippers’ state soccer tournament appearance by handing Tim Benson’s team a 2-1 loss in the quarterfinal round Thursday, June 5, at the Cownie Soccer Park in Des Moines.
It was the third trip in four years for the squad, and the third time a championship was denied them.
Perry dominated the first 10 minutes of the match and scored in the ninth minute for a 1-0 lead.
“They (Perry) came out with energy and a big crowd, and our keeper was under stress the whole time,” Benson said. “We weathered that with only one goal and Miles (Lukas, keeper) kept us in the game the first 10 minutes.”
The Clippers realized quickly what they were up against. “They came out really hard, I think it was a minute-and-a-half before we even touched the ball,” Benson said. “But once we weathered that storm and started connecting some passes and getting a few dangerous counterattacks, we knew we could play.”
In the second half the Clippers upped their game significantly, putting Perry on the defensive. “We just decided, ‘We’re here. This is our only shot,’ so we had to pick up our play, and we did,” Benson said.
However, the Bluejays struck again with 8:09 remaining.
At the halftime break, Benson moved Andrew Beckler from a defensive stopper position to midfield and brought in freshman Tyreke Williams. “He (Williams) held his own for 15 minutes (before getting a yellow card), and Andrew (Beckler) just provides us with leadership.” Benson added, “He’s just a stubborn kid. I’ve taught him for four years, coached him four years, I love him to death… but he just is.” Benson said Beckler is the kind of player who would get on others if they started slacking in practice. “He just brings that energy and attitude that we need.”
Beckler scored with 4:24 left in the game, knocking in a shot from Jacob Klingeman to a wide-open goal with the keeper well out of position. “I’m proud of him scoring a goal in his final game at state,” Benson said. “He didn’t score a lot of goals in his career (playing defense), but that is a memory he can have for the rest of his life.”
Even into the final seconds Benson said he felt his team had a shot at a win and advancing. “We’ve been down by goals before. It’s happened, and we’ve come back to tie games and win games,” he said. “I don’t think we ever lost faith. I told our guys (after the match), ‘until there was no time left on the clock, I thought we were gonna tie it up. You guys had me believing the way we were playing.’”
The Clippers’ season ended with a 12-5-2 record and the team says goodbye to seniors Beckler, Klingeman, David Calderon, Mark Lewis, Bryan Marmolejo, Mitch Walker and Connor Mougin.