CLINTON — For more than 37 minutes, Clinton battled Davenport North on even terms Thursday night at the Ashford University soccer field.
Then, North struck twice in a minute to change the complexion of the boys soccer game that ended as a 3-0 win for the Wildcats.
"It was a tough night, but I'm proud of how the kids played," Clinton coach Matt Hagge said. "Although we lost, I don't think we were beaten."
Senior midfielder Dalton Speak scored twice for the Wildcats and said his team was due for some success. North has won two in a row after an 0-3 start.
"This whole season we have been kind of unlucky," he said.
That changed late in the first half.
Speak got the ball in space 35 yards in front of the goal and lofted a shot over Clinton goalkeeper Paolo Marilim and into the net with 2 minutes, 30 seconds remaining.
"They weren't pressing me on that one," Speak said.
Marilim came out of the goal several yards, but even if he had been on the goal line he likely wouldn't have been able to reach the shot.
"That first one was just a beauty," Hagge said. "There's not much you can do there."
The second goal, though — which came with 1:30 left — was more of a heartbreaker.
Jerod VanSant set up on the right side for North's seventh corner kick of the half. He sent the ball in front of the net, just missing a connection with Speak. But the ball hit a Clinton player and ricocheted into the net for an own goal and a 2-0 North lead.
"We needed to pressure the other team, and that's what happens when you do," Speak said.
"It wasn't really anyone's fault," Hagge said. "Even though we were down 2-0, I'm proud of how we changed our effort in the second half."