Creston came up short in a wild flurry in the final three minutes, as the West Central Valley boys held on for a 3-2 victory Thursday at Panther Field.
Creston (1-2) had more shot attempts in the first 10 minutes, but came up empty as the Wildcats took a 2-0 halftime lead on goals by Tanner Ruhland at the 16:11 mark and Logan Marks five minutes later.
With 24:23 left in the second half, Levi Eblen struck a corner kick for the Panthers. Forward Conner Pals bumped it to a waiting Cory Rathe in the box to pull Creston within one.
With 10:37 left the Wildcats got a valuable insurance goal by Jake Reed, making it 3-1.
Creston pushed the pace the rest of the way, and got a goal out front on a crisp strike by midfielder Trevor Frain off an assist by forward McClain Haines. That made it 3-2 with 1:45 left.
The Panthers were unable to gain the tying goal, although there were other chances in the final 40:00. Coach Jesus Rodriguez said it seemed fate was against a Panther team that outplayed the Wildcats for much of the contest.
“I told the guys, we had a lot of chances,” Rodriguez said. “Honestly, if you were watching how many times we had a breakaway to when they had a breakaway? But, we couldn’t put it in. Today we were just off.”
With just more than three minutes to go, Frain had another shot bang off the cross bar. Pals settled the carom and launched a quick reaction shot that just went wide. Haines also had a crossing shot barely miss the corner of the goal.
“It was just one of those nights. It’s not that we weren’t playing good soccer,” Rodriguez said.
Creston lost the JV match, 2-0. Kruz Adamson had two shots on goal, and Brandon Lee and Michael Walsh each had one. Goalkeeper Jake Miller had seven saves.
The Panthers play at Nodaway Valley Monday, with JV at 5:30 and varsity scheduled for 7 p.m.
West Central Valley 3, Creston 2
Creston (2) — Cory Rathe (Conner Pals assist), 24:23 second half; Trevor Frain (McClain Haines assist), 1:46. Shots on goal — 16. Shots on goal — 13. Individual shots — Pals 3, Haines 3, Garret Geary 1, Levi Eblen 1, Trevor Frain 2. Keeper saves — Alex Nielsen 12. Fouls — 2. Cards — Tayler Pettit (Y).
W. Central Valley (3) — Tanner Ruhland 16:11 first half; Logan Marks 10:46 first half; Jake Reed 10:47 second half. Keeper saves — Devon Stonehocker 9. Cards — Rob Irlmeier.