ADEL — One day shy of one year ago, the ADM boys soccer team left Dewey Field with a 2-1 win, a loss that would force eventual Class 2A state runner-up Perry to share the Raccoon River Conference title.
Tuesday the Bluejays erased the foul taste of that loss, as a brilliant defensive performance — which has become the hallmark of Perry teams the past two seasons — helped the blue-and-white leave Adel with a 1-0 win. Barring the highly unlikely, the Bluejays will secure what they felt should have been theirs last season — the outright RRC championship.
“I am so proud of our guys, of the kind of effort they gave tonight,” Perry head coach Gary Overla said, seemingly unfazed by a drenching from the team’s water bucket courtesy of several players moments earlier. “Our defense was absolutely outstanding and I am so proud of the way the guys listened to our scouting report and followed the game plan to perfection.
“We knew going in that the key was to stop (Derek) Gushikin, that if we did that we were going to win, and that is exactly how it played out,” he added. “We had some opportunities to score in the first half but didn’t let ourselves get down and stayed in the game plan. A great effort for a great group of guys who deserve to be happy about this win.”
Gushikin is third in Class 2A with 24 goals, almost two-thirds of the ADM total (39) this season. He was stifled by defensemen Cameron Martinez and Ian Velasco and by stout defensive efforts from the Perry fullbacks.
ADM (12-4, 4-1) managed just four shots on goal, with Bluejay goalie Jorge Soto stopping all four for his ninth shutout of the season. Perry (11-2, 6-0) has allowed only three goals in regulation play this season, the best defensive effort in all of Iowa.
Tiger keeper Brett Buscher came under attack numerous times in the first half but was helped by three Perry attacks that were off target while making three fine saves to keep the game scoreless at the half.
Perry got the only goal they would need just over two minutes into the second half when Buscher and one of his defenders balked at moving onto a loose ball at the same time. The miscue allowed Jesus Rodriguez to win the footrace to the ball, play it past Buscher and, after a dribble to create an angle, bury a low screamer inside the far post.
“I saw both of them hesitate a second and I just kept coming,” explained Rodriguez, who now has 13 goals on the year. “I had to move a bit to have a shot and was able to put it in. I knew I had to hurry because they (ADM defenders) were running back (into position) … I just wanted to make sure I didn’t wait too long or miss.”
Perry will have to wait and see if they will be at full strength when they host Carroll Thursday at Dewey Field as Velasco went down in the second half with a possible knee injury. He was to receive x-rays Tuesday evening to determine if any damage was done.
“We have one goal down, but still have a lot of hard work in front of us,” Overla said. “Next week we see Des Moines Lincoln (9-4-1) at home (May 18) and then go to Pella (11-4; game May 21) and Indianola (3-10, game May 22) who is always tough. Hopefully Ian is OK and we can keep playing the way we have been.”
PERRY 1, ADM 0
at Adel, May 12
Scoring by minute
PRY — Rodriguez (13), unassisted, 43rd.
Shutout — Soto (9).
Saves — PRY: Soto, 4; ADM: Buscher, 5.