IOWA CITY — With 40 seconds left in the first half, all the Iowa City High girls’ soccer team needed to do was clear the ball near its own goal to escape to the break against No. 2 Iowa City West in a scoreless tie.
Instead, the 11th-ranked Little Hawks lost control to the Women of Troy, who were able to set themselves up for a shot. Midfielder Rachel Olson launched a ball from the left side of the box, hitting the right post and landing in the back of the net with six seconds remaining.
West (7-0) carried the momentum to the second half and won, 2-0.
“I honestly wasn’t expecting it to go in,” Olson said. “It was just like, whatever, I’m just going to shoot it.’”
West head coach Dave Rosenthal was looking for her to be more aggressive and he certainly got it.
Played at the neutral-site Iowa soccer field, students and parents made full use of the sidelines and had enough of a crowd to be several people deep on the bleachers’ side of the field. With the players so close to the crowd, the game felt even more hotly contested than it already was.
The playing style, at least, matched. Possession was split fairly equally during much of the first half, with the teams taking turns attacking the ball. West’s Regan Steigleder had her team-leading eighth goal of the year with 24:16 left in the second half.
She had several chances during the evening and finally got one to go in. It put the Trojans up 2-0, giving keeper Katie McGrane — who played the entire game for West — a bit of leeway. She did her part, however, making an incredible save with a little over 13 minutes left in the game.
It was the type of performance Rosenthal was looking for from his team.
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“It’s always a lot about emotions,” Rosenthal said. “We talk about keeping your emotions in check and the team that can do that the longest can come out on top.”
City High (4-3) never went away and even as the game wound down, still gave West some trouble. Outside of a couple chances, the ball spent a good deal of time inside Women of Troy territory, but the Little Hawks weren’t able to manufacture shots.
“We just didn’t have a player step up and seize the moment, they had two players step up in moments and score goals,” City High head coach Michael Prunty said. “We floated around the idea and never really did it.”
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