Le Mars boys soccer falls to BH/RV in postseason debut
SIOUX CITY — The inaugural varsity season for the Le Mars Community boys soccer program came to an end at Memorial Field on Thursday in a neutral site Class 2A substate opening round game. The Bulldogs fell by a 4-2 score.
Le Mars got out to a 1-0 lead at halftime in what Head Coach Ben Vonheeder said was one of the team’s most complete 40 minutes of play all season.
“That was the best half of soccer we’ve played all year long,” Vonheeder said. “We were controlling it, possessing it really well. We were finding our teammates and that was the difference come second half.”
The Bulldogs had to weather most of the first half without their starting goalkeeper as Arik Burnett went to the bench with a yellow card after a foul with 28:46 left in the first half.
John Andrea, the team’s third-string keeper with the normal backup gone, came in and held the Nighthawks scoreless for the rest of the half before Burnett returned in the second half.
Le Mars got on the scoreboard as Jovany Kabongo stole the ball in the BH/RV backfield and was able to make an unassisted goal with 6:17 left in the first half.
“The first goal from Jovany was just a great individual effort to get a steal and then go finish it off,” Vonheeder said.
Le Mars added to their lead just seconds into the second half as the team got the ball in the box and after a few ricochets, found the back of the goal last touched by Marco Duran.
“The second one, everybody did a great job of crashing the ball on that free kick,” Vonheeder said. “Somebody on our team was going to put that in, we just had enough guys there.”
The 2-0 lead was short-lived as the Nighthawks answered less than 30 seconds later with a goal from Brayan Gonzalez.
Just over two minutes later the game was tied on a penalty kick from Ulices Zuniga.
Le Mars had a few opportunities to score again, but could not get the right touch on any of their shots the rest of the game.
BH/RV struck for another two goals in quick succession with just over 13 minutes left in the game. Gonzalez broke loose for a goal from the left side at the 13:32 mark and the Nighthawks scored again less than 30 seconds later as Emiliano Ruvalcaba got a breakaway goal down the right side at the 13:08 mark.
“We started letting their runners run free around the field too much,” Vonheeder said. “They’ve got some good speed, some good finishers up front and they just burnt us a couple times and that’s the difference.”
With the win, Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley improved to 8-6 and will take on Bishop Heelan (10-5) back at Memorial Field on Monday in the substate semifinal.
Le Mars ends their first varsity season with a 2-13 record. Vonheeder gave an assessment of how the first season went as their two wins came against Council Bluffs Thomas Jefferson and Unity Christian.
“From the get-go, it was we’re going to go out and we’re going to at least compete with every team we play,” Vonheeder said. “We may not come out on top, but we’re going to give everybody our best shot every night. That’s what we were trying to do all year and I think for the majority of the games, we did that.”
The game was the last for Vonheeder who started the program from scratch a few years ago. He is leaving to take a teaching job in Norwalk.
“I hope that I at least gave a good start for the program,” Vonheeder said. “Talking to the guys after the game, I lost it in front of them. Knowing it was the last game hurts, but I think I’ve put them in a good position going forward. I like what we started. They have so much coming back next year and I think they’re going to do well in the future.”
The team graduates seniors Alan Davila-Quinones, Mason Gengler and Monday Chol.