Pirates stop Rebels shy of state

Grundy Center/Gladbrook-Reinbeck’s Hudson Clark (14) leaps to make a header in front of teammate Jacob Hoy (15) and Hudson’s Oswaldo Gomez during their substate soccer final in Reinbeck. PHOTO BY JAKE RYDER

REINBECK – A late goal dashed the hopes of a return to state for Grundy Center/Gladbrook-Reinbeck in a 1-0 loss to Hudson in a Class 1A Substate 3 final at Gladbrook-Reinbeck High School on Wednesday, May 22.

The Pirates head to state for the first time since 2019. GC/G-R, last year’s 1A state runner-up, bows out at 12-4 overall.

Lyle Olsen used a header to redirect a corner kick from Slade Schneider to break a scoreless tie with 70 seconds left.

“We knew they used their corners and free kicks to their advantage,” GC/G-R head coach Jon Dinsdale said. “They might be a little smaller than us, but man, they can leap. And they definitely took advantage of that one. And unfortunately, that’s just how the season is gonna end for us.”

GC/G-R had offensive opportunities, including a clean look for Aiden Betts that he pushed high over a diving Hudson goalkeeper in the first half, and potentially dangerous looks for Isaac Clark and Klayton Freed as the game wore on.

Grundy Center/Gladbrook-Reinbeck’s Aiden Betts, center, sends a ball skyward during the Rebels’ substate final soccer match against Hudson on May 22 in Reinbeck. PHOTO BY JAKE RYDER

“We needed to get those, and we just didn’t finish tonight,” Dinsdale said.

Dinsdale hoped GC/G-R would use its size to better advantage but the hosts struggled to efficiently move the ball.

“We kind of died there with about 20 minutes left and then with 10 minutes left I thought we played really well again,” Dinsdale said. “I really try to go heavy that if we win 50/50 balls, we’re just a better team in general. We had those moments, but they had a lot more and I felt like that really hurt us. We never had that momentum against a great team.”

Hudson pushed for most of the second half with Max Anderson standing tall in net and aided by a GC/G-R defense doing just enough to keep it scoreless until the very end of regulation.

It was the final game for GC/G-R’s seniors, most notably Anderson, Clay Saak, Isaac Clark and Dylan Knaack. Clark was the team’s leading scorer this year with 24 goals and Knaack was second on the team with 12 assists. There was also an influx of Grundy Center seniors like Colin Gordon, Trent Cakerice and Justin Knaack that made immediate impacts on the team, and all of this while many on this team juggled multiple sports this spring.

“Just a tremendous amount of leadership from our seniors,” Dinsdale said. “What a tremendous honor to get to know those guys like Gordon, Knaack, Cakerice. … The run all of these guys have had in high school is incredible and I hope they don’t let this little thing hurt them because they’ve had a tremendous career.”

The Rebels were 4-8 the year players like Clark, Dylan Knaack and Anderson played as freshmen. Since then they’ve had multiple double-digit win seasons, including the 20-1 run to the state title game in 1A.

“It just shows the dedication they have,” Dinsdale said. “We went from pretty much nothing to state runners-up and almost qualified for state again tonight. Hopefully our program is heading in the right direction.”