VINTON — It wasn’t too long ago that the Vinton-Shellsburg boys soccer team snapped a long losing streak, which came last season in a 4-1 victory at Mount Vernon. Five more losses followed in the next six matches, but since May 5th of 2018, the Vikings have fell just once in seven tries.
Proving they are a program definitely on the rise, Vinton-Shellsburg (1-0) played hosts to the Independence Mustangs (2-0) Friday evening. Spotlighted as a marquee match up with neither team allowing a goal thus far through three matches, these two WaMaC West rivals knew nothing would come easy.
In reference to exactly that, the early portion of the match saw a few scoring opportunities, but neither could capitalize with a goal. That defensive struggle continued throughout most of the opening half. However, with the time ticking down, the Vikings earned the first big break late. Getting the ball into the box, sophomore CJ Rickels would be fouled, resulting in not only a red card and an early exit for the Independence player, but also a penalty kick opportunity. Giving this chance to fellow sophomore, David Lapan-Islas, he was able to sneak it in the top right corner of the goal to put Vinton-Shellsburg up 1-0 with 3:14 remaining.
“It was huge for us getting that first goal in and they had to play with 10 men the rest of the way. I’m sure they were pretty tired as it was their third game of the week and they played great. We just came out on top,” said Head Coach Kyle McAbee.
Moving to second half action, it did not take the Vikings long to double up their visiting opposition. At the 33:29 mark, Lapan-Islas broke free from the defense and got his shot off just before a Mustang player came sliding in. This goal that rolled into the bottom part of the net not only gave Vinton-Shellsburg the 2-0 advantage, but gave the sophomore a great achievement as well.
“David just set the career goal record tonight (14 now). (The original recorder holder was) Lasse Hedinger, who was a foreign exchange student in the second year of the program in 2013. That record has held for a long time and it finally fell,” added Coach McAbee.
Later on in the match, another sophomore in Rickels hasn’t quite reached that milestone yet, but he got one step closer late with a goal into the bottom left part of the net with 4:06 on the clock.
“(David and CJ) are phenomenal players and great guys. CJ is currently number three on the career goals list, so he is hot on their heels and I’m sure he’ll be number two pretty soon,” commented Coach McAbee.
The final shot that found the back of the net was more than enough for the Vikings to earn an impactful 3-0 win over the previously undefeated Mustangs (2-1, 0-1 WaMaC West). After an 8-0 victory at West Delaware to begin their season, Vinton-Shellsburg (2-0, 1-0 WaMaC West) has outscored their first two opponents by an 11-0 margin, giving them a lot of optimism about 2019.
“Our goal is to end up in Des Moines at the end of the year and it’s 100 percent possible. We only lost one guy and we’ve just added so much depth in the offseason. It’s been unbelievable and the new guys are really stepping up,” stated Coach McAbee.
The Vikings will look to continue their strong play Tuesday as they travel to Maquoketa for a 5:00 p.m. start, while the Vikettes play host to the Cardinals at 5:30.