With a lot on the line Thursday night on the pitch in Kalona, the Hillcrest Academy Raven boys soccer team delivered, scoring a key Southeast Iowa Superconference victory over visiting Danville/New London 2-1. In a back-and-forth 80-minutes, it was the Ravens who climbed on top first, with a Micah Gerber chip-in goal over the Bear’s keeper to put the Ravens ahead 1-0. Hilcrest would hold that lead at the break. Early after half, it was a Danville response that tied the game at one. Five minutes later, the Ravens see-sawed back on top, on another Gerber tally, his sixth of the year, as he wound up from deep and sent a shot over the keepers head into the back of the net for what would be the game winner. The Raven defense locked down the last 25 minutes of action to secure the win. After the contest, Gerber joined KCII Sports to talk about his goals and defensemen Bryce Bailey talked about what his unit did to get Hillcrest to the finish line.

Gerber said, “(On the first goal) I heard the coaches say to cross it. I tried crossing it. It hit off my foot wrong and went over the goalie. A chip-in. I thought ‘Oops!’. (On the second goal) I got the ball, shot it, and it actually went in. It felt great!”

Bailey added, “Once we got that last goal everyone seemed to hone in and really push forward. Lincoln Miller and Isaac Birky did a great job on the sides, they were really challenged today. Mason Helmuth, seems to be my partner down there, we did a pretty good job of clearing it out at the end.”

As a team, the Ravens finished with eight shots, seven on goal, and one corner kick. Lincoln Miller and Seth Ours each added an assist on the night as Andrew Kauffman and Kyle Neuschwander combined on eight saves. The Ravens remain undefeated this year at 5-0, with a 4-0 record atop the Superconference. Hillcrest is back on the pitch tonight when they host Cedar Valley Christian.

The win also signified an important milestone for longtime Hillcrest Academy boys soccer coach Marcus Miller. The victory was the 300th of Miller’s illustrious career. He has served as head-man for the Ravens since 1993. His teams have finished with a winning record 19 times, at least 10 wins 15 times and 15 wins five times. The top number being 19 victories in 1997. Under Miller’s direction, the program has reached the state tournament six times, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2018 and 2019, winning it all in ’97. Miller’s overall coaching record is 300-198-10, working out to a 67% career winning percentage. Miller spoke with KCII Sports after the match about what the milestone means to him.

Miller said, “I’ve been here a long time! Ha! I lead the school in record wins and record losses. I’ve had the chance through the years to work with good people. It’s good and you have good memories of working with the kids. Now the kids are adults and it’s good to see them be successful. That’s the kind of stuff that makes this worthwhile and fun!”

The Ravens wore special Liverpool red kits Thursday night to honor their coach with the colors of his favorite Premier League club.