CLINTON — For 79 minutes, the Clinton boys played shutout soccer against Davenport Assumption on Tuesday night. It was the two goals that came within a minute of each other in the first half that ultimately gave the Knights the edge.
Assumption’s Jacob Phillips broke the scoreless tie at the 25-minute mark on a feed from teammate Ben Bassier. Seconds later, Tony DeVriese of the Knights floated the ball in front of a crowded Clinton goal; Phillips redirected it with a header to the left post.
With a lot of game left, both teams received ample opportunities to score. But defense ruled throughout, leaving the River Kings on the losing end, 2-0.
“For 79 minutes of that game, we controlled the game,” Clinton coach Matt Hagge said. “That’s one thing about soccer — it’s very unpredictable. Anything can happen on any given night, and unfortunately we let those two in.”
Lately, he added, Clinton has been getting “a lot of good looks” in games against tough opponents. Forwards John Gunderson and Robbie Thacker brought the ball into the goal box several times with only Knights keeper Jack Herrington standing in the way.
The Kings were either thwarted by Kerrington or swarmed by the Assumption defense.
On the defensive side, Assumption also had looks. Clinton keeper Paolo Mirilim (11 saves, 2 goals allowed) and defender Travis Mink teamed up several times to clear the ball.
“(Mink) is awesome back there,” Hagge said. “He plays so tough. He’s the most coachable young man, an outstanding player.”
Midway through the second half, Hagge moved Mink upfield to try to generate more offense. The ball continued to move closer to Assumption’s goal, but never past Kerrington.
“We’re getting a lot of looks in games, but we struggle to put that ball in the net,” Hagge said. “We’re going to need to work on some shooting.”
He added that when substate pairings are announced is when the season “really” begins.
“We use all of these losses as building blocks and we take notes,” Hagge said.
The game took a scary turn for Assumption with 15 minutes left. On an attempt to clear the ball, the Knights’ Reid Wiebler cranked it into Bassier’s face, knocking the latter unconscious.
The game stopped for five minutes, before Bassier rose to a standing ovation. He was taken out but returned minutes later to finish the half.