Suddenly, April feels like forever ago after Perry’s most recent loss, a 5-0 loss to Des Moines Lincoln on Monday, May 13.
The Bluejays started the season strong, going 7-0 to complete the opening month but have since dropped six of their last nine games. Though, giving up the most goals it has all season — Lincoln’s five goals matches the past three opponents — cuts deeper than the rest.
There just wasn’t an answer beyond the first 30 minutes of a tied game with zeroes on the board. Once Juan Sandoval’s kick hit the net with five minutes remaining in the first half, Lincoln picked up momentum that lasted well into the second half.
Lincoln scored with just a few ticks remaining on the clock before the break and came back out swinging as if Perry held the cards. Perry came close down 2-0, hoping to cut the lead in half with a couple of attempts near the net from Mario Saldana and from further out to take advantage of an out of place goalie, but the score stayed put all the same.
Taking the W wasn’t enough though. Lincoln scored three times in the back half to more than secure the victory, sending Perry into a minor identity crisis compared to its strong start to the season.
That doesn’t mean the blue and white are going away. Not with substate on the way.
“Right now what they need is they just need to take a look in the mirror and say, ‘What am I doing?’” Perry head coach Gary Overla said. “When life gets tough, you just got to fight back and you can’t cower away. And I think that’s where we are.”
There isn’t a question that this group can strike back. The Bluejays have outscored opponents 50-21 this season. Who will step up remains the question.
The one known factor is that whether it’s a group of starters that rallies together or a rise from the bench, the team knows its baseline to compete against upcoming competition.
Over Mother’s Day weekend, Perry split its tournament, losing 3-0 to likely substate opponent Lewis Central.
After Monday’s game, Overla said that the team can’t come out to play against Lewis like it did in round one and Monday’s performance was a notch lower. This is just the regular season, so while there’s a sting in place of wins that were once familiar two weeks ago, there’s room to move up in the endgame.
“Championship teams step up and they win those [games like tonight],” Overla added. “They win that Dallas Center game. They win that Adel game. We haven’t done that.”
Perry will have one more bout this season with Pella on schedule for Thursday, May 16.