IMS falls to Solon in season opener
SOLON — IMS and Solon, both of which were ranked in the Iowa High School Soccer Coaches Association preseason rankings, met in Monday’s season opener in Solon, with the 14th-ranked Spartans topping No. 9 IMS 2-1.
Solon took a 2-0 lead early in the second half, but the visitors nearly rallied to tie the game. On a run toward the goal midway through the second half, IMS senior Dillon Bender was tripped outside of the penalty box and awarded a direct kick. Taking the kick from about 20 yards out, Bender, who scored 10 goals for IMS last season, sent a strong shot past the goalie to trim the Spartans’ lead to 2-1 with 27 minutes remaining in the game.
IMS nearly evened the score several minutes later on a strong shot by junior Reggie Hostetler. Juniors Spencer Schrock and Enrique Sanchez also created scoring opportunities from wide positions.
The match, which was the first to be played on Solon’s new artificial turf field, remained scoreless for much of the first half. Both teams came out with a lot of energy, but play soon settled down as the team adjusted to the cold, the wind and the pace of the other team. Solon created offensive pressure early, but IMS defenders Justin Boller and Cody Miller helped to shut down several runs into the box.
Finally, Solon scored with 11:53 left in the first half. The goal came after the ball pinballed around the 6-yard box. Before IMS goalie Joel Shetler could grab the ball, a Solon player poked the ball across the goal line for the score. The IMS defenders — Boller, Miller, Jameson Lammer and Kirby Shetler — tightened up and kept the Spartans scoreless for the rest of the half.
Solon continued to put pressure on the IMS defense in the second half, and scored another goal to take a 2-0 lead. Joel Shetler got his hands on a shot, but the ball deflected back into play, where after a short pass, the Spartans put a strong shot past the goalie.
The IMS midfield and forwards did not give up, however, as Bender, Hostetler, Schrock, Sanchez, Peyton Thompson, Nicholas Yoder and Lane Schrock found the energy to regain control of the ball and to push back. IMS just came up a bit short in its comeback effort.
IMS returns to action on Thursday when it travels to Wapello for a Southeast Iowa Super Conference match at 5 p.m.