COUNCIL BLUFFS — Zander Day couldn't stop shivering. He was soaked and limping around after taking a blow to the hip.
Yet the Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln sophomore was doing just fine. Terrific, actually.
Day scored in the second overtime of the Lynx's boys soccer game against Council Bluffs Lewis Central amid aching legs and frigid conditions for a 2-1 victory Thursday evening at Titan Field. The finish marked Abraham Lincoln's first win in nearly two years and set off an exuberant celebration on the Lynx's sideline.
"It really feels great because last year 0-18 did not feel good," Day said. "First game, coming out and winning in overtime feels good."
The skid ended at 19 games overall extending back to the 2013 campaign. Coaches and officials discussed postponing Thursday's contest because of sleet and strong winds but decided to play as scheduled on L.C.'s artificial surface.
Abraham Lincoln first-year coach Jamison Parkhill said the Lynx were ready to compete in just about any weather conditions in their season opener.
"The kids were pumped for it all week," Parkhill said. "I didn't even sleep a wink last night because I was thinking about this constantly. We were thinking about calling it, and I'm like, 'We can't. We're ready right now.'"
But the result didn't come easy. Lewis Central went ahead in the 15th minute when Brendon Figueroa scored from close range on a ball thrown in by Brenden O'Brien. Aided by the wind, the Titans dominated possession in the first half and outshot their city rivals 11-0.
Abraham Lincoln managed its first shot on goal in the 55th minute and five more in regulation. That stretch included the equalizer from senior captain Payton Scheinost, who snuck a low roller through a crowd
Abraham Lincoln managed its first shot on goal in the 55th minute and five more in regulation. That stretch included the equalizer from senior captain Payton Scheinost, who snuck a low roller through a crowdand under a diving attempt byLewis Central goalkeeper Bailey Walker.
A scoreless overtime followed, with A.L. narrowly missing on multiple hances with the wind at its back. In the second 10-minute extra session, Day converted the winner from the top of the box in the 95th minute after taking a pass and dribbling forward for a better look.
It was a fresh start this year," Scheinost said. "We knew that all we could do was improve, so that was our goal. We wanted to come out and win this first game so we could say we did better than last year."
Both Council Bluffs teams felt especially sore afterward thanks to chilling temperatures. For Abraham Lincoln, Scheinost kept rotating on and off the field fighting cramps, while Day and Pedro Valdez also played through pain. Senior defender Jaime Huerta and freshman defender David Moritz left the game after suffering injuries.
Freshman goalkeeper Javier Huerta notched nine saves — many coming via leaps and collisions with Lewis Central attackers — to keep the Lynx in range for a rally.
"They just pushed through," Parkhill said."That's the biggest thing especially because last year when we were one goal down, our heads went down. It happened this time and we fought back. It was an amazing game and an amazing effort by all the boys."
Lewis Central coach Dan Gulden said the game swung when the Titans couldn't convert their possession advantage into a twogoal lead in the first half. But the teamwork and ball movement were the best he'd seen in his two years as head coach. "The first 40 minutes, I know we had the wind but we played the best soccer Lewis Central has played since the 2013 season," Gulden said. "Our inability to finish let (A.L.) stay confident and stay in the game."
Abraham Lincoln, meanwhile, walked away with a long-awaited win after scoring just four goals all of last spring. Scheinost said he believes more positive moments are on the way this season as the program moves on from the struggles of a year ago.
"It's a little embarrassing to say that you didn't win a game," Scheinost said. "But coming out and saying we're 1-0? That's something to be proud of for us."
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