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MX News Update 2024

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Gavin Egeland and Kaden Weber stand out for Nevada in boys soccer

Kaden Weber and Gavin Egeland knew the 2024 boys soccer season would be a big adjustment for them.

After being role players behind a talented senior class last season, they have both found themselves starring in a Cub program that reached the semifinals of the Class 2A boys state soccer tournament last season.

It hasn’t always gone smoothly. Nevada entered this week with a 6-8 record.

But Weber and Egeland are getting more comfortable with their roles each week, and they both believe Nevada can still be a major threat when the postseason begins next week.

“Our key word this year as a team is to have fun,” Weber said. “If you look at our losses, they are comparable to very good teams by one point. We have been very positive and I think with what we have we have done very well.”

More: 10 Ames-area Iowa high school boys soccer players to watch ahead of the 2024 season

Weber and Egeland are Nevada’s two best offensive players. Cub coach Todd Sampson has moved them around, trying to find the best fit, and right now Egeland is on the left wing and Weber is up top at forward.

“They knew the expectations that we needed to replace a lot of production in scoring goals,” Nevada coach Todd Sampson said. “They have both taken a step further. I’ve switched positions between the two in the last few games, but I think it worked out for everyone.”

Nevada entered the season needing to replace the elite scoring of Drew Robinson and the exceptional playmaking ability of Edgar Cabrera and Sam Betting. Robinson had 41 goals and 11 assists, Cabrera had 21 assists and nine goals and Betting had 18 assists and four goals.

Kent Sponseller and Aidan Freeman also contributed heavily to Nevada’s success last year, with Sponseller recording nine assists and four goals and Freeman eight assists and one score.

Both Weber and Egeland were approached by Sampson about increasing their offensive production after combining for seven goals in 2023. They knew they wouldn’t make up for all the heavy losses the Cubs suffered, but they both came in ready to make significant contributions. .

“We don’t have to completely fill the shoes of Kent, Edgar and Drew,” Egeland said. “We just have to be the best version of ourselves, and the results will come.”

Through fourteen games in his second season, Egeland leads Nevada with nine goals. He also has one assist.

“Being raised by a great group of seniors was great,” Egeland said. “I take bits of it and implement it into my game.”

Weber, a senior, has seven goals and one assist. But what he enjoyed most was going a step further and becoming a team leader.

“I’m doing my best to be the best captain I can be,” Weber said. “It’s been great so far. The guys are fun to be around. We just take it practice by practice and focus on what we did right and what we did wrong and make adjustments from there.”

After serving three years as a backup and role player, Weber said it’s nice to be able to take on his leadership role.

“It’s definitely different being a senior because you’re not guided by anyone other than the coaches,” Weber said. “You’re that guy everyone looks up to.”

His experience as a three-time state qualifier and two-time placeholder in wrestling helped prepare Weber for his role as captain of the football team. But the two sports also provide him with very different experiences.

Weber will wrestle at Grand View University in Des Moines next year. After the football season ends, he will undergo knee surgery to get healthy in time for wrestling.

He sees football as a great escape.

“Wrestling is very independent and that’s why I love it,” Weber said. “In wrestling there is so much pressure and expectations on yourself. When I go to play football I can just open up and have fun.

Although Nevada has a losing record, with Weber and Egeland leading the way, the Cubs have still looked formidable at times this season.

Five of Nevada’s losses have come by one goal. Three of those have come against 2A No. 1 Gilbert, 2A No. 7 Perry and 3A No. 10 Newton.

“I have been impressed with the mental toughness and resilience of the group, especially those two (Weber and Egeland) who are the focus from an attacking perspective,” Sampson said. “The whole season is a process and in the end every team had a chance to make it. We have to continue to grow and get better every game.”

More: Meet Jackson Johnson, a calming presence on the top-ranked Gilbert boys soccer team

The Iowa High School Boys Soccer Postseason brackets were released Monday by the Iowa High School Athletic Association. Nevada will be the No. 2 seed in 2A Substate 6.

“These two weeks are the most important weeks of the season,” Weber said. “Everything we’ve been working on all season leads to this moment.”

Gilbert is the No. 1 seed in Nevada’s bracket. Weber said the entire team is looking forward to getting the opportunity to play the Tigers again, and he wants to pull off the big upset and end his career by playing in the state tournament.

“I can tell you we are all very excited,” Weber said. “We know how we played them the first time. That proved that we can compete with anyone. I’m excited about it…we all are.”

Joe Randleman covers high school sports for the Ames Tribune. Contact him at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @JoeRandleman