Fast start pushes Newton boys past Pella in postseason opener

May 22—Christian Lawson has scored 53 goals in his prep soccer career. But none of them were more impressive than his most recent tally.

The Cardinal senior highlighted the Newton boys soccer team's Class 3A Substate 5 semifinal win over Pella with a pair of goals and the Cardinals held off a late run from the Dutch during a 3-2 home win at H.A. Lynn Stadium.

"He showed up in a big game when we needed him to," Newton head boys soccer coach Zach Jensen said. "That second goal was by far the best goal of his career."

Hunter Teague

Lawson put Class 3A No. 10 Newton in front 1-0 in the 9th minute with a header in front of the net.

It stayed 1-0 until the 42nd minute when Lawson's second goal pushed the advantage to 2-0. This time, Lawson used a string of hesitation dribbles to create space from a defender and then booted the ball past the Pella keeper.

It was an impressive one-on-one effort from Lawson, who took a little bit off the attempt.

"I was going to try to pass it at first. Then I thought I could take that guy who was defending me," Lawson said. "Once I got past him, I just took the shot.

"I didn't want to kick it too hard because it usually goes over the goal when I do that. I was trying to place that one."

Not kicking the ball too hard was the best part of the sequence, according to Jensen.

"I like how he slotted it. A lot of times he just powers it and it goes over the net," Jensen said. "He slotted it across from the keeper so he couldn't get to it. It was well placed."

Christian Lawson

The Cardinals (12-5) eventually went up 3-0 following the first career varsity goal from Troy Ramsey. He got his head on a ball in the box and put it past the Dutch keeper in the 51st minute.

It ended up being the game-winner as the Dutch rallied with a pair of goals in the final 12 minutes.

"I just saw a great ball in. I guess I was in the right place at the right time," Ramsey said. "I'm just happy it went in. It was the game-winner I suppose, but without the other two goals and our defense, we don't win."

Speaking of defense, Caleb Mattes had the tough assignment of slowing down Pella standout Teddy Apostolopoulos. He came into the night with a team-best 11 goals and 27 points, but Mattes made things very difficult for him throughout the night.

Apostolopoulos was limited to three shots and put just one of those shots on goal. He scored a goal and had an assist on the Dutch's only two goals in regulation earlier this season in the team's road win over Newton.

This time, Mattes got the best of him with physical play that even led to a yellow card in the final few minutes.

"I just tried to be physical, be on his hip and make it as hard as possible," Mattes said. "He's usually the best player out here so if he has to play the ball back then that's what we want."

Caleb Mattes

Mattes was responsible for defending Apostolopoulos in last year's game and was not nearly as effective.

The team elected to not have an individual defender responsible for him in the earlier meeting this season, but Jensen changed that strategy for the latest contest and Mattes volunteered for the assignment.

"He had the assignment last year and he would tell you he didn't play well," Jensen said. "But he came to me and told me he wanted the assignment this year so we gave it to him. He took pride in it and stepped up for us in a big way. He took him out of the game for 75 minutes."

Pella (7-10) got a pair of goals from Carson Leathers in the final 12 minutes. The Dutch scored with 24.4 seconds on the clock to close their deficit to one. That came after Mattes was forced out of the contest after a yellow card with 1:42 left in the match.

Lawson's two goals pushes his season total to 18, which ranks second in 3A. Landon Menninga finished with two assists, while Conner McPartlin had one helper.

Newton had an 18-14 disadvantage in shots, but took one more (7-6) shot on goal. Pella also had a 6-3 surplus in corner kicks.

"We conceded two goals late and that was disappointing, but it's a substate game against your rival," Jensen said. "Anything can happen and if you go back to the last few games in the series there's been a ton of goals scored. They seem to all be barn burners, too."

Conner McPartlin

Lawson's first goal of the night came on a header in the box after the ball bounced over the goalie's head as he was trying to grab it with both hands.

With 22 minutes left in the first half, the Cardinals had an apparent goal taken off the board. A Nate Lampe throw-in got past the keeper but it was waived off after not touching another player before it went in.

Hunter Teague made nine saves in the match and now has 117 for the season, which ranks tied for eighth in 3A.

Teague made a one-handed diving save in the 21st first minute, added a kick save three minutes later and kept the shutout intact with another save in the 38th minute.

"The game plan went well for the first 70 minutes or so," Jensen said. "They got a goal after Caleb went out with the yellow, but we knew if we could take Teddy out of the game, we should be fine."

Next up for the Cardinals is 3A No. 4 Dallas Center-Grimes, which advanced following a 9-1 win over Winterset. The Mustangs (13-4) defeated Newton 4-1 at H.A. Lynn Stadium earlier this season but it was 1-all at halftime.

"I'm happy we won our last game this season at H.A. Lynn," Jensen said. "Now we have to go figure out how to beat DCG."

Nate Lampe

Notes: The Cardinals were issued three yellow cards in the match. Jacob Sweeney got one in the final few minutes of the first half and Bryan Hernandez picked up one with 24:16 to play in the match. ... Pella is 10-5 against Newton since 2011, but the Cardinals are 5-4 versus the Dutch since 2016. ... The last two contests have ended 3-2 and Newton won 5-3 in 2022. Pella defeated Newton in a shootout on April 23. ... Lampe did not have at least one assist for the first time in a Cardinals' victory this spring.