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Gilbert survives CPU scare during Iowa boys state soccer tournament

DES MOINES – Gilbert breathed a sigh of relief after the hard-fought 2-1 victory over upset Center Point-Urbana in Wednesday’s Class 2A boys state soccer quarterfinal at the Cownie Soccer Complex.

The Tigers entered the game undefeated, seeded No. 1 and as defending 2A state champions. But after a strong start they fell flat, and CPU No. 8 took full advantage to give them a major scare.

“It was a tale of two halves,” Gilbert coach BJ Jordison said. “The first half we played well. We strung passes together and we played the way we wanted to. The second half I challenged them to play the first five minutes and try to win that, and CPU won those first five minutes .Then CPU won.” we got into it a little bit and had to defend quite a bit. I’m just happy we got the result we needed.”

After the first 25 minutes it looked like Gilbert would blow the game open. The Tigers roared out to a 2-0 lead thanks to the combination of forwards Tyler Holtan and Preston Stensland, along with great play from the midfield, defense and goalkeeper Tyler Jerkins.

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Holtan found Stensland over the middle for a goal after a short kick just over six minutes into the match.

“I understand, he was in the right position at the right time,” Holtan said. “I just played it through and he put it in.”

The duo struck again 17 minutes later when Holtan converted a header from a Stensland ball.

“I didn’t think that ball was going to go through,” Holtan said. “I got up there, I think.”

Gilbert controlled the rest of the first half. But after halftime the momentum completely changed.

CPU scored its goal 3:24 into the second half when Brody Behrens found the back of the net on an assist from Jarret Koppedryer. The Stormin’ Pointers did much better with possession in the last 40 minutes to keep the pressure on Gilbert.

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The Tigers ultimately survived, but were not happy with the performance.

“We just have high expectations for our team,” said Gilbert midfielder Jackson Johnson. “We’re undefeated coming in here. We know everyone is going to give us their best. That’s kind of our freebee. A bad performance – we still got away with it.”

Gilbert will carry an 18-0 record into the 2A semifinals against No. 5 seed Bishop Heelan, which takes place at 10 a.m. Friday at Mediacom Stadium in Des Moines. Bishop Heelan posted a 5-1 win over No. 4 seed Webster City in the 2A quarterfinals, so the Tigers will likely need to maintain a high level of play throughout the match if they hope to return to the title game.

“We can’t really be satisfied right now,” Stensland said. “We have a bigger job and a goal ahead of us. We just have to be ready for Friday.”

CPU finished the season with an 11-5 record.

Joe Randleman covers high school sports for the Ames Tribune. Contact him at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @JoeRandleman

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