DES MOINES — Six boys’ state soccer championships overall. Six state team championships this school year.
What beautiful symmetry.
“We’ve got six right now, and hopefully the girls can make it seven,” Paris Martins said.
It was Martins’ sudden rocket shot early in the second half that provided the game’s lone goal Saturday as West edged Johnston, 1-0, in the Class 3A title game at Cownie Park. The Trojans set a state record for most soccer championships, after breaking marks earlier this weekend for most state tournament victories (now 29) and title game appearances (nine).
What an incredible athletics run it’s been in 2011-12 for the school, which has won state team championships in boys’ soccer, track, tennis and basketball, as well as volleyball and girls’ basketball. And it has really good teams in girls’ soccer, baseball and softball still playing.
The soccer and tennis champs will be honored today at 1 at the school’s Little Theatre.
“It’s kind of a lot of pressure all the students put on you,” said West’s Alex Troester.
West (21-1) was actually outplayed much of a scoreless first half, but Coach Brad Stiles effectively changed formations, putting three forwards up top instead of two. The Trojans enjoyed the majority of second-half ball possession.
“We made a couple of slight changes,” Stiles said. “We figured if we were playing that badly, let’s just keep it away from their players.”
Stiles said he was talking to a player on the bench and didn’t even see Martins’ winning goal. The junior midfielder was at the top of the penalty box when he received a pass, turned quickly and fired a right-footed shot that found the net in the 51st minute.
Martins, Troester, midfielder Mueng Sunday and defender Ben Troester were named to the 3A all-tournament team, with Alex Troester the captain.
“Coach Stiles has asked me all year to take one touch and shoot the ball,” said Martins. “I haven’t done it, but I finally did, and I scored.”
Goalkeeper Ryan Holte notched his third shutout in the tournament, getting significant help from Ben Troester. About 11 minutes into the game, Holte got a piece of a Johnston shot, but the ball rolled behind him and toward the goal, with Troester in position to clear it away.
“They came out flying,” Sunday said. “But we calmed down at halftime and played our game.”
“It was a great team performance,” Alex Troester said. “We defended well, doubled (the ball) when we could and even tripled. It was just a great defensive performance. Then we finally got one.”
Make it six, actually.
West Des Moines Valley beat Ames in the 3A consolation game. Dubuque Wahlert won the 2A championship with a 1-0 victory over Norwalk, and Waterloo Columbus the 1A title, 2-0, over Nevada.
Iowa City Regina beat West Liberty in penalty kicks, 2-1, in the 1A consolation match. Spirit Lake Park-Okoboji won the 2A consolation over Adel-DeSoto-Minburn.