It proved to be one and done for the Knoxville Panther varsity boys’ soccer team at the 2019 State Tournament in Des Moines at the Cownie Soccer Complex Friday, May 31.
Knoxville was under attack early and often by an aggressive Xavier Saint squad, who drew the No. 1 seed for the Class 2A State Tournament.
An Xavier shot early in the game from a distance struck the top of the crossbar and bounced out.
The Saints eventually rallied around their season long scoring leader Andrija Mijatovic, who opened and closed the scoring for the day in a 5-0 victory over the Panthers.
Mijatovic put the Saints on the board at the 9:29 mark of the first half. Next came a goal by Arnold Mutasingwa at the 23:16 mark of the opening half.
The Panther defense would buckle down and there was no more scoring in the opening half.
The Panthers managed to collect a few open kicks off of Xavier fouls, but weren’t able to convert.
Mijatovic was back in business for the Saints as he scored on a penalty kick in the box at the 48:49 mark of the game.
Mijatovic also scored the final two goals of the match, for a total of four overall with goals coming at the 58:53 mark and at the 63:37 mark. The last score by Mijatovic was off a rebound shot by a teammate.
The loss to the Xavier Saints ended a Panther win streak that had reached six in a row.
The Panthers had a very nice fan following. It far exceeded that of Xavier, by as much as 10 to 1 in the number of fans in the stands.
The Panthers are coached by Dylan Mick.
Odds and Ends
The Panthers finished the season with a final record of 14-5 while the Saints moved down the tournament trail with a record of 15-2.
The Saints have seven state championships neatly tucked away in boys’ state soccer.
For Knoxville it was their second ever trip to the state meet and the first since 2010 when Coach Jonathon Smith took the team to the big festival.
It was the final match for 11 Panther seniors. The senior list included Connor Wahl, Spencer DeJoode, Niels Scheelhaase, Matt Brown, Cristian Magana, Elliott Schmidt, David Pech, Sam Wadle, Nathan Sample, Joey Kesteloot and Ethan Rowland.
“We knew Xavier would be a tough draw. We were the only unranked team in 2A to qualify for state. Mijatovic is one heck of a player. His combo of skill, strength, speed and a very high soccer IQ is tough to battle for an extended period of time,” stated KHS Head Coach Dylan Mick.