Humboldt fights hard before suffering narrow state setback

Messenger photo by Britt Kudla: Will Orness of Humboldt works to gain possession against Norwalk at the boys state soccer tournament on Tuesday in Des Moines. For more photos, please visit CU.messengernews.net

DES MOINES — Humboldt knew this boys soccer season was going to be a challenge.

It was one the Wildcats embraced with open arms.

Fifth-ranked Humboldt (16-2 overall) moved up to Class 3A this spring, but still found a way to repeat as a state qualifier.

The quarterfinals didn’t go as the Wildcats hoped on Tuesday, as they were edged 3-2 by sixth-ranked Norwalk — a program making its 14th state tournament appearance.

“The team continued to work and develop through the whole season,” said HHS head coach Joe Hadar. “We knew 3A was going to be a bigger challenge and when you look at the schools left in the tournament, we punched above our weight.”

The Wildcats have strung together a remarkable recent run as a program, going 33-3 overall the last two seasons and 48-6 since 2021.

“They all played for each other, and with a big squad, they were pushed to get better,” Hadar said. “Now we just need to try to keep it going (in 2024).

“As always, we appreciate the youth experience. A lot of our players enjoy playing in the Fort Dodge Soccer Association.”

On Tuesday, the Warriors always had an answer for the Wildcats. Norwalk went up 1-0, then 2-1 after Humboldt tied the contest.

Senior Will Orness knotted the match at 2-2 in the 46th minute with his second goal. Orness kicked one in and had a header.

The final goal by the Warriors came in the 74th minute, pushing them into the semifinals.

“This Humboldt team has meant everything to me,” Orness said. “I’ve built a great relationship with all of my teammates, and I will for sure miss it.”

Humboldt senior Trever Beach, who was one of the Wildcats’ leading scorers, enjoyed the run on the pitch.

“This team has been great every match throughout this ride,” Beach said. “Humboldt has been a great place to be an athlete, because we’re a winning program and have great coaches.

“I wouldn’t change a thing.”

Both of Humboldt’s losses this season were by one goal.

“They stuck together through a lot of adversity and never quit,” Hadar said. “In the two games we lost, they gave everything to get back in the game and win it.

“Great senior leadership from Trever Beach. Trever leads by example and he did a lot to get this team to state. Will Orness is only in his second year of soccer and scored both of our goals — that’s amazing. Will was a senior leader. Henrik Gustafson had a great year as another senior who led by example.”

The Wildcats will graduate some valuable experience, but they are also slated to welcome back a plethora of talent.

“Christhian Ramirez matured as a junior. He and Reyes Falcon did everything to push the team farther,” Hadar said. “Both had injury issues all season, but played most of this last match.

“Our goalkeeper (Karson Rubel) is only a freshman, but he played outstanding all year and was a unanimous all-conference choice.”


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