By Chris Umscheid
North Liberty Leader
DES MOINES– “We gave it everything we had,” said Coach Tim Benson as the Clear Creek Amana (CCA) Clippers regrouped after a 2-0 loss to top-ranked and defending state champions Cedar Rapids Xavier in a Class 2A state quarterfinal round match at Cownie Soccer Park in Des Moines.
The Clippers came into the contest, in their first state tournament appearance, as the eighth-ranked team. The coach thought they should’ve been ranked higher.
“I thought we deserved a little better than an eighth seed,” Benson said. “We proved that today. We could give any team in this tournament a run for their money.”
The Clippers were on fire in the early minutes of the first half, but in the 24th minute, the Saints of Xavier managed to blast one past goalie Joe Weldon. CCA held the Saints at bay for the remainder of the half, but only three minutes into the second, the Saints scored again. The Clippers, though very feisty and scrappy on the field, never recovered.
“We don’t have many (soccer) club-type players,” Benson said, “so we’ve got to play with our hearts. That’s what we left out there today. We played decent soccer.”
As for the loss, the boys in blue rebounded quickly as they received their state tournament participant trophy and proudly marched across the field to face their fans.
“It’s tough, but everyone’s walking out of here with a smile,” Benson said.
For a moment, it seemed as if a smile would be all they would have to wear as the coach asked for their jerseys and shorts to be turned in.
The Clippers finished the 2011 season 11-5, contrary to the tournament program which had them entering the contest at 12-4.
“I took that as a good omen,” he said with a grin.