Prep Soccer

Iowa City Regina edges Cedar Valley Christian/Alburnett for seventh straight girls' state soccer trip

Iowa City Regina forward Lauren Gaarde chases down a ball as Cedar Valley Christian/Alburnett defender Makenna Blackford tries to recover during a Class 1A regional final Monday at Regina. (Nathan Ford/The Gazette)
Iowa City Regina forward Lauren Gaarde chases down a ball as Cedar Valley Christian/Alburnett defender Makenna Blackford tries to recover during a Class 1A regional final Monday at Regina. (Nathan Ford/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — Time ran out on a season of significant growth for Cedar Valley Christian/Alburnett. A familiar trip west is on the agenda for Iowa City Regina.

Eighth-ranked Regina will make its seventh consecutive appearance at the girls’ state soccer tournament after beating Cedar Valley Christian/Alburnett 1-0 in a Class 1A regional final Monday at Regina.

The Regals (10-7) will play a state quarterfinal Thursday at Cownie Soccer Park in Des Moines.

“It just shows how amazing all the previous Regina teams have been and how we just have to continue that legacy,” senior forward Lauren Gaarde said.

Gaarde’s second-minute goal turned out to be the difference in this one. She only managed a slight touch on Anna Ziniel’s corner kick, but the ball deflected back to her and she slid it in with her left foot. It was her team-high 15th goal of the season, and not the first from her weaker foot.

“I don’t mean to,” Gaarde said of her left-footed prevalence. “That’s just kind of how it happens.”

There were plenty more opportunities for the Regals to add on in the ensuing 78 minutes. The Regals had 11 shots in the first half, eight on target, and finished the game with 20. Claire Gaarde hit the bar in the first half and Ziniel struck the post in the second half.

“I thought that offensively we were going to get a lot more looks and we were going to put things together,” Regina Coach Ann Larew said. “Give it to them. They came out with a lot of fire and a lot of enthusiasam and they made a game of it.”

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The Huskies didn’t shoot in the first half and managed two in the second 40, but tested Regina in the box with numerous long throw-ins from Maggie Cach. Her throw-in led to a winning own goal in overtime of a regional semifinal against Iowa City Liberty, and Regina was ready to defend the play by marking up as if it were a corner kick.

“I think we handled it really well considering I feel like we had ball after ball, especially into our box, but I’m really proud of our defense,” Lauren Gaarde said.

CVC-A rallied to win both of its previous postseason games, but came up a win short of its first trip to state. Still, at 14-5, this was the four-year program’s winnigest season and one of the most successful campaigns in the school’s athletics history.

“For Cedar Valley Christian to be on the same field as a banner is unreal,” Coach Ron Slagle said.

“That was never going to be our measuring stick. It was going to be the fact that we always continued to fight. But we’re proud of the achievements we’ve made.”

l Comments: (319) 398-8252; nathan.ford@thegazette.com

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