Cubs cling to lead, eliminate GC/G-R

12th-ranked Nevada withstands Rebels’ late surge for 3-1 victory

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE • Grundy Center/Gladbrook-Reinbeck senior Walker Thede (7) crashes into a Nevada player while fighting for possession during the second half of Wednesday’s Class 1A Substate 2 boys’ soccer semifinal in Nevada.

NEVADA — As his teammates gathered up their gear and left the pitch together one last time, Walker Thede dribbled slowly out to the penalty spot and kicked the ball to the back of the net.

A subdued applause said farewell to the senior’s stellar career as well as the season for the Grundy Center/Gladbrook-Reinbeck boys’ soccer team.

Class 1A No. 12 Nevada overcame Thede’s early goal with three consecutive tallies that withstood a late surge from the Rebels for a 3-2 triumph in Wednesday’s Substate 2 semifinal match at Cub Stadium.

Nevada advances to Saturday’s substate finals at Waterloo Columbus, taking on the fifth-ranked Sailors in a noon contest.

Grundy Center/Gladbrook-Reinbeck (9-5) was unable to take advantage of the early lead it gained on Thede’s goal in the 12th minute as Nevada (11-7) countered with two goals within a two-minute span later in the opening half. Brendan Sellberg pulled the Cubs even when he scored on a penalty kick at the 29:08 mark, and Ayden Rhodes converted on a well-placed through-ball from Jose Buennrostro at 30:59.

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE • Grundy Center/Gladbrook-Reinbeck senior defender Seth Grettliat, right, makes a sliding stop against Nevada’s Jose Buennrostro (9) during the second half of Wednesday’s Class 1A Substate 2 boys’ soccer semifinal in Nevada.

The deficit for the Rebels remained at one for the final 9:01 of the first half and the next 35:29 of the second stanza, right up until Nevada made it 3-1 when Buennrostro’s nifty dribbling netted him a left-footed scoring chance he cashed in.

The Cubs’ two-goal lead with 4:31 to play felt like the end for GCGR head coach Jon Dinsdale, who started scanning the bench for substitutes for his numerous seniors. By the time he turned around, Eli Thede had rallied the Rebels back to within one goal. Travis Kuester took a pass near midfield, slipped a through-ball that Walker’s younger brother could track down and slip past Nevada goalkeeper Gage Maiefski, bringing GCGR to within 3-2 just 17 seconds later.

“To be honest with you, I was ready to take my seniors out just to give them one last hurrah from the stands and their families, and before I could even get to the first guy we scored,” said Dinsdale. “Why was that so easy in 20 seconds? We dribbled that one down and scored right away [to start the game], and I thought if we just keep going we could very easily come out of here with a victory.”

But the Rebels, who spent 100 scoreless minutes on the pitch Monday night in an eventual 1-0 shootout victory over Denver, ran out of gas.

After a handful of solid second-half scoring chances came up empty prior to Eli’s goal, GCGR got one last free kick from 25 yards during the 38th minute. Walker’s right-footed rocket sailed into the breeze and just above the crossbar, clanging off the football goalpost instead.

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE

“Honestly if we would have played the way we did against Denver, we would have played a lot better in general,” Dinsdale said. “Our touches, our kicks … we had an off night and you can’t do that. You have to be ready to go every night. It’s hard to go out knowing you didn’t play your best game and that’s the part that’s hard to swallow.”

Grundy Center/Gladbrook-Reinbeck goalkeeper Bryce Schick finished with 10 saves in net, while Maiefski countered with four stops on GCGR’s six shots on goal.

But the Rebels spent a lot of the night chasing the ball around as Nevada’s possession-based play dominated control. After an emotional triumph on the road Monday night in the first round of substate action, running after the Cubs seemed like too much.

“I don’t want anybody to make excuses, but I think Monday’s game against Denver just drained us. We weren’t ourselves today,” said Dinsdale. “Our passes were off, our touches were pretty bad, no communication. It was just quiet out there. There was a lot of noise from the stands, but the field was quiet and that’s what hurts.

“I told them out there [after the game] before I broke down, literally, if all I taught you was the game of soccer … It’s about life, it’s about what you learn, it’s about the losses you take. This was a hard loss, these seniors will never get to play together as a team, but it’s what you take out of it and it’s important they know you’ll wake up tomorrow and have another plan for success.”

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE

Nevada 3, Grundy Center/Gladbrook-Reinbeck 2

At Nevada

GC/G-R 1 1 — 2

NEVADA 2 1 — 3

First Half

GCGR — Walker Thede, 12:00.

NEV — Brendan Sellberg (pk), 29:08.

NEV — Ayden Rhodes (Jose Buennrostro), 30:59.

Second Half

NEV — Buennrostro, 75:29.

GCGR — Eli Thede (Travis Kuester), 75:46.

Goalkeepers — GCGR: Bryce Schick (13 shots on goal-10 saves); NEV: Gage Maiefski (6-4).

Shots — GCGR 13, Nevada 22.

Shots on goal — GCGR 6, Nevada 13.

Yellow cards — GCGR assistant coach, 62:13.