Herald Staff Report
Central DeWitt converted on three breakaways in the first half to defeat Clinton 3-1 on Saturday afternoon in the championship of the Clinton Invitational boys soccer tournament at the Ashford University field.
"Right off the bat we hit the crossbar (with a shot)," Clinton coach Matt Hagge said. "We were pressuring hard, but our defense fell apart a bit, and they got three breakaways and turned them into three goals to take a 3-0 lead into halftime."
The River Kings scored the lone goal of the second half when Patrick Newton scored off an assist from Hunter Genco.
"In the second half, we came out blazing," Hagge said, noting that the Kings took six or seven shots.
"DeWitt has a pretty good team. Although we lost, I don't think we were beat."
The River Kings advanced to the final with a 2-0 win against Northeast on Saturday morning. John Gunderson scored a pair of first-half goals, with Genco and Newton getting the assists.
"We pretty much controlled the game," Hagge said. "At halftime we got a chance to get a lot of younger guys in. We have seven seniors, but we also have 16 freshmen out."
Paolo Marilim, who played the first half in goal, stopped the only shot he faced. Ian Howes and Ryan Day spent time in net after halftime.
Central DeWitt advanced to the final with a 7-0 win against Marquette Catholic. Marquette beat Northeast 4-2 in the third-place game.
Clinton opens conference play Thursday at Bettendorf.
"We haven't won a conference game in four years, but I really believe this is our year," Hagge said. "We’ve got a nice stable of dedicated athletes. The young guys are learning from the older guys. They're ready to turn it around."