It was no work of art, but wins over conference rivals early in the season rarely are.

That was certainly the case for Class B No. 1 South Sioux City on Tuesday in a 2-1 slugfest with third-ranked Omaha Gross.

It was the first win of the season for the defending champion Cardinals (1-1), who had a season-opening tournament and a match with second-ranked Omaha Skutt postponed in the first week.

“This is one of those things where it’s not pretty, but it’s a win,” Cardinals coach Lupe Gonzalez said. “Gross is a good team, a quality team, great coach. I just feel like we’re not clicking, not meshing yet. We have a lot of work yet.”

Jose Ruiz scored before the midway point of the first half, and teammate Nahum Sabino made it 2-0 in the 47th minute.

Gross got one back a little more than four minutes later when junior midfielder Brandt Vomacka headed a ball down to his feet, settled past a defender and went low for a score.

The Cougars generated a handful of chances down the stretch, but never found an equalizer.

“They’re the best team in the state, and I think we gave them all they wanted,” Gross coach Rick Yanovich said. “They’re an aggressive, physical team. It was definitely an old-school, classic, hard-knock game.”

Asked if his team could take a good amount from a match like Tuesday’s, Yanovich said: “A good amount of Advil.”

His team will need it. The Cougars have three matches in the next eight days, capped with next Thursday’s tilt with Skutt.

South Sioux City, meanwhile, has another trip to Omaha on the slate for Thursday when it visits Class A No. 2 Omaha Creighton Prep.

South Sioux City (1-1).........1 1—2

At Omaha Gross (4-1)..........0 1—1

Goals: SSC, Jose Ruiz, Nahum Sabino; OG, Brandt Vomacka.

Papillion-La Vista girls 1, Omaha Marian 0

Sam Marek’s late goal gave Class A No. 8 Papillion-La Vista a 1-0 win over top-ranked Omaha Marian. It was Marek’s eighth goal of the season and pushed the Monarchs to 5-0. Mollee Swift earned the shutout for Papio, handing Marian its first loss.

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