Cardinals stay unbeaten after dominating home tournament

Mar. 30—Zach Jensen has guided the Newton boys soccer program to multiple state tournaments in his seven full seasons as head coach.

But until Saturday, none of his Cardinal squads began their season 4-0. Newton accomplished that feat after winning its home tournament following victories over Central Iowa United and Ottumwa.

"It feels good. It's what we came here to do this week," Jensen said. "They weren't all pretty wins, but they go down as wins and you won't remember how pretty they are when you look back at it.

"It sets us up nicely for the end of the season. We've gotten two 4A wins so far."

Nate Lampe

The Cardinals opened their day with a 4-1 win over Central Iowa United and then ended the tournament with a 3-0 victory over Ottumwa.

The Bulldogs defeated Benton Community 1-0 in the second match of the tournament, while Central Iowa United lost 4-1 to Benton in its other contest.

Nate Lampe and Jacob Sweeney had big days for the Newton offense, and Caleb Mattes led a defense that allowed just one goal in 120 minutes.

"We've had great teams in the past who didn't do that so it's awesome," Mattes said about the 4-0 start. "We are communicating well, but there's room to grow still. Our passing patterns could be a little better. The shutout (in the second game) was icing on the cake."

Lampe tallied one goal and two assists in each of the two wins and Sweeney scored three goals total to lead the Cardinals to the tournament championship.

Troy Ramsey

Lampe, who will play for Jensen at Central College at the next level, now has three goals and seven assists in four matches this season.

"He's the kind of player we need to take control of games," Jensen said. "That's what he did today. When he's successful, we're successful."

The Cardinals led Central Iowa United 2-0 at halftime. Sweeney scored his first goal of the season in the 12th minute and then Christian Lawson tallied his third goal this spring after converting a 1-on-1 opportunity following a through ball assist from Lampe.

Central Iowa United got within a goal in the 52nd minute when Colfax-Mingo senior Austin Lane scored his third goal of the spring.

But the Cardinals countered with a pair of goals in the final 8 minutes.

Austin Lane

Lane was forced to the bench following a yellow card that came before Newton was awarded a penalty kick following a foul in the box by CIU.

Lampe converted the penalty kick in the 53rd minute and Mattes finalized the scoring with a goal 4 minutes and 30 seconds later. That goal also was assisted by Lampe.

"We are possessing the ball well and passing it well," Lampe said about the team's 4-0 start. "That's opening things up for our offense. We have great spacing right now and it gives us more creativity."

Newton held a 19-5 advantage in shots against Central Iowa United. The Cardinals also had a 10-3 surplus in shots on goal and a 7-1 advantage in corner kicks.

Hunter Teague made two saves in his 60 minutes in goal.

Christian Lawson Lucas Barnes Austin Lane

The Cardinals led Ottumwa 2-0 at halftime, too. This time, they didn't let the Bulldogs back into the contest.

"I felt like we settled in that first game. We were up 2-0 and thought it was over," Jensen said. "Then they scored one, which gave them hope. That's what I talked about at halftime of the Ottumwa game. We were up 2-0 at halftime again, and we didn't want to settle. We needed to stay on the gas pedal and anyone who stepped on the field needed to give everything they had in the tank."

Lampe opened the scoring against Ottumwa when he converted a free kick just outside the box in the 12th minute.

His offensive skill set helped the Cardinals go up 2-0 seven minutes later when he dropped a nifty pass to Sweeney in front of an open net.

Sweeney scored the third and final goal in the 33rd minute. Lampe's corner kick forced a scramble in front of the goal and Sweeney was open on the backside for the conversion.

"We scored goals during the run of play, which is something we've struggled with in the first two games," Jensen said. "We scored off set pieces, too. I'm really proud of that."

Ben Richardson

The Cardinals (4-0) had a 19-7 advantage in shots against Ottumwa. They held a 10-6 surplus in shots on goal, too.

Teague made six saves in his 60 minutes. He now has 24 saves in four matches and his save percentage is 89.

Newton had a little bit of fortune, too. After one of those saves by Teague bounced off his hands with 17:30 left, Ottumwa (2-1) rebounded the deflection for a second attempt, but it ricocheted off the crossbar.

"We're 4-0, but the first two games were kind of rough," Mattes said. "We've made a lot of improvements. We've pointed out the stuff we need to work on, and everyone is taking criticism well."

Central Iowa United fell behind Benton in that matchup, too. The Bobcats' Caleb Gessner scored on a through ball less than two minutes into the contest.

Gage Byal, a Colfax-Mingo sophomore, answered with his first goal of the season for CIU. That came off an assist by Andrew Tollefson in the 19th minute.

Jacob Sweeney

Benton (1-1) added a goal in the 26th minute to go up 2-1 at halftime and then added a pair of goals in the second half to pull away for good.

The Bobcats held an 18-14 advantage in shots and had an 11-5 surplus in shots on goal. Central Iowa United (0-3) produced a 4-2 advantage in corner kicks.

Ben Richardson missed on a penalty kick in the final minutes of the second half to stay three goals behind.

Notes: The Newton Cardinal Classic features two 30-minute halves in each of its four matches. ... The Cardinals started 3-1 in 2017 and 2022. They began the 2019 season 3-0 and 5-1. "He said something about not ever being 4-0 before in the pre-game. It's cool now that we actually did it," Lampe said. "Between this year and last year, we've grown together and this group is molding well together, fitting into their roles better and we are playing better soccer."