Rob Meyers isn’t saying he never has to dig in his bag of tricks to fire his Omaha Skutt team up.
He’s just sure it won’t be necessary Monday night.
“There’s no requirement for us for motivation when we play South Sioux City,” the SkyHawk coach said.
Top-ranked Skutt will seek its second straight Class B title when it takes on its rival, No. 3 South Sioux City, in Monday’s 5 p.m. championship match at Creighton’s Morrison Stadium.
The conference rivals met in last year’s title game as well, a match Skutt won in the final few minutes.
“It was one of the best games I’ve ever been a part of,” Meyers said. “I still don’t know how we won that. Whenever we get together, it brings out the best in us.”
In the 2012 final, the Cardinals got an equalizer with about 4½ minutes to play. A minute later, Skutt got the game-winner.
South Sioux City coach Marla Grier said her team couldn’t have done much else. The Cardinals, she said, left it all on the field.
“We played well in that game,” Grier said. “They played well in that game. We just didn’t come out the winner.
“As a coach, I felt that. I don’t think the boys felt that way. But as a coach, I knew they had done everything they could and that’s just the way the game goes sometimes.”
Skutt comes into Monday’s match boasting some of the same credentials it did a year ago. The SkyHawks are 19-1, have played a grinder of a schedule and haven’t lost to a Class B team all year. In fact, that streak has reached 37 straight matches.
They got through a tough district and then state games against Norris and fifth-ranked Columbus. In the latter, Skutt scored four straight after falling behind early.
“They’re a good team and we know it,” Grier said.
Grier’s bunch is no slouch, either. The Cardinals were hampered by the spring’s unseasonably cold and wet weather. Their home field is a grass surface.
But Meyers said he can see a difference in South Sioux City’s play. Most noticeably, he said, is how well-organized the Cardinals appear after moving leading scorer Edson Irineo farther back to a more defensive role.
“They look like they’ve gotten outside a little more and played a little more since the last time we saw them,” Meyers said. ”But they’re just really good all the time.”
Skutt’s success, the coach said, starts and ends in the back with keeper Michael Kluver. The Creighton recruit is a cancer survivor and probably would hold a fistful of state records had his chemotherapy not limited him to field play as a freshman.
“He probably hasn’t gotten enough credit this year because of our success,” Meyers said. “He just sits in the back and gets the job done.
“He’s an unbelievable athlete. He can reach everything with those long arms. And if we put him on the field, he’d be one of our best field players.”
Kluver will need to be on his toes against South Sioux’s offense. The Cardinals have three double-digit scorers and have improved their attack down the stretch. In five postseason matches, they’ve tallied 22 goals, and four of those matches were against ranked teams that were in the state tournament field.
South Sioux beat Columbus in a district semifinal, then-No. 2 Schuyler two days later for the district crown, ninth-ranked Lexington in the first round at state and new No. 2 Gretna in Saturday’s semifinals. In the wins against Schuyler and Gretna, the Cardinals struck for three goals in overtime, showing their ability to get scores in bunches.
“We’ve got to possess the ball,” Grier said. “We just have to keep our head and play our game. Our guys are definitely excited about the chance to play (Skutt) again. They’re very, very determined this year.”
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