Rex Wiebe’s hard work paid off in the 66th minute of Rapid City Stevens’ boys' soccer game against crosstown rival Rapid City Central.
The Raider forward was in the right place at the right time during Tuesday’s game at Sioux Park Stadium. A clearing kick from Cobbler goalkeeper Quincy Warren struck Wiebe square in the chest and bounced into the goal for the lone score in Stevens’ 1-0 victory.
The play was set up when Wiebe pushed down the middle of the field as a teammate centered the ball about 20 yards out from the goal mouth. Warren came out to play the ball, as Wiebe and Central defender Eric Keohane neared.
“It was a bit lucky, but I worked hard to get to the ball and still kept going after the play,” Wiebe said. “I just tried to beat Eric, the ball hits off me and goes in.”
Wiebe’s game-winner capped a contest where the battle was waged at midfield for much of the game. Both teams made surges into their opponent’s defensive zone, but there wasn’t much sustained pressure inside either penalty area.
Central tried to work to the edges of the field, but the Cobblers couldn’t solve the Raiders defense for much of the game. Stevens didn’t allow a shot on goal over the first 40 minutes.
“We tried to expose the outside, and I would’ve liked to have done it more. We didn’t get enough shots off,” Central coach Joe Sabrowski said. “I felt we were right there.”
Though play lingered in the midfield throughout, the Raiders tended to get to the ball ahead of the Cobblers, which resulted in more forays on Central’s goal. Nine of the Raiders’ 13 shots came after halftime and seven of those were on goal.
“We were having a little trouble at the beginning of the game trying to get to the 50-50- balls,” Stevens coach Jeff Fierro pointed out. “We made a correction at the half, and our guys were a lot more aggressive.”
Down 1-0 with 15 minutes to play, Stevens took more of a defensive stance as Central began to apply pressure while looking for the equalizer. The Cobblers, who didn’t have a shot on goal the first half, finished with five for the game. Most of those came in the late going.
Stevens’ midfielders and backline were up to the task and, despite giving up some good looks in the late goal, helped preserve the shutout for Raider goalkeeper Carter Waggoner.
“It’s a hard way to lose,” Sabrowski lamented. “Cleared it right at him, right off his chest.”
Stevens (3-1-2) is back in action Friday against Sturgis. Central (4-3-1) takes to the road for its next two games – Tuesday at Hot Springs and Thursday against St. Thomas More at the Dakota Fields complex.