CENTERVILLE – For Nick Caylor, suffering a stinging loss is something of an improvement for the Centerville High School boys soccer team.
After all, suffering the string of a loss means there's an expectation to win. That's something the Big Reds have been seeking for several seasons.
Jose Castro's penalty kick with eight minutes remaining snapped a 2-2 tie, lifting Clarke to a 3-2 South Central Conference victory over Centerville at the Morgan Cline Family Soccer Complex on Friday. The Big Reds came up just short in their quest to start the season with a 4-1 record after carrying a 31-match losing streak into the campaign.
"This team has a lot of heart. I think you could see on the faces of kids coming off the field how much it hurt for all of us," Centerville head boys soccer coach Nick Caylor said. "The guys want this one back. Luckily, we've got them again in a few weeks.
"This one is going to burn a little bit. We're going to use that moving forward."
Centerville (3-2, 1-2 SCC) struck first as Ryan Sinnott scored from over 25 yards away from the goal, lofting a shot that found the back of the net over the head of Clarke goal keeper Oscar Castro in the 16th minute. It was Sinnott's second goal of the season, both coming in similar fashion.
"He seems to like that spot of the field. He had a goal from that same spot on opening night at Des Moines Christian," Caylor said. "He's one of those guys that get in those lanes, gets moving forward and can make a difference."
Centerville held the lead for over eight minutes before Clarke (2-0) answered off a corner kick as Kamis Bellis drove the tying goal home on a header. The Indians took the lead for the first time in the match minutes into the second half on a goal by Josue Torres off a feed from Oswaldo Torres only for the Big Reds to respond on the next possession, taking advantage of their own corner kick opportunity as Griffin Weber converted a header in the 46th minutes, tying the match at 2-2 on Centerville's 10th goal of the season.
"All these guys have great contributions in a lot of ways," Caylor said. "When you look at our squad, we've got a lot of guys playing a lot of significant minutes for the first time since they were little. We're only going to get better as we move forward."
Clarke would finally break through after creating a majority of the scoring chances in the lively match, drawing a foul on a run inside of 10 minutes left leading to Castro's go-ahead penalty kick. Centerville failed to get a shot to the net despite a pair of late possessions deep in Clarke territory in the final three minutes of regulation.
"We talk about being in situations like that all the time. We wrap up practices with shootouts trying to be mentally prepared for those type of situations," Caylor said. "Unfortunately, things are not always going to go our way. It just wasn't our night, but it's something we can work on and fix."
Clarke 3, Centerville 2
Clarke 1 2 — 3
C'ville 1 1 — 2
Centerville — Ryan Sinnott goal, 16:00.
Clarke — Kamis Bulis goal, 24:00.
Clarke — Josue Torres goal (Oswaldo Torres assist), 44:00.
Centerville — Griffin Weber goal, 46:00.
Clarke — Jose Castro goal (penalty kick), 72:00.
Clarke: Total Shots — 21 (J. Torres 8, O. Torres 5, Leo Carillo 3, J. Castro 2, Bulis, Hector Garza, Miguel Nunez). Total Saves — 1 (Oscar Castro). Total Fouls — 1.
Centerville: Total Shots — 7 (Connor Stephens 4, Kellen Johnson, Sinnott, Weber). Total Saves — 4 (Caden Sales 3, Hunter Gottman). Total Fouls — 4.