IOWA CITY — It is getting to the point in the boys’ soccer season when Iowa City Regina is at its best.
The Class 1A No. 1 Regals — the defending state champions and winners of six of the last nine titles — have tussled with their usual strong slate of teams across all three classes in order to be primed for the postseason.
“It gives us the best competition out there,” sophomore goalkeeper Josh Dutchik said after the Regals trimmed No. 2 Solon, 2-1 in a shootout, in a boys’ soccer game Thursday night at Regina High School. “When we play 1A teams, if we’ve just got our schedule easy, then we won’t get better. When we play hard teams that really challenge us, the whole team gets better.”
Of the three Regina (11-3) losses this season, two (No. 3 Bettendorf, Marshalltown) are against 3A competition and the third was to undefeated Iowa Mennonite, which is ranked fourth in 1A.
The Regals have defeated four 3A teams, including a 1-0 home shutout of No. 10 Pleasant Valley on Tuesday. Regina will play for a fifth 3A victory when it hosts North Scott next Tuesday.
The victory over Solon was Regina’s fourth against 1A top-10 teams.
“They always play better against better teams,” Regina Coach Rich Larew said.
The Regals scored in the first minute of the game with a header from junior Kieler Brown off an assist from freshman Alec Wick. Solon (12-4) tied the game in the 19th minute with a goal by junior Luke McInnis, his eighth score of the season.
The score remained 1-1 for the final 61 minutes of regulation and through two 10-minute overtime periods. With the deciding penalty-kick portion of the game deadlocked at 3-3, Dutchik made a diving save of a Bennett Meier attempt, which set the stage for the Regina winner from senior Leo Gasparoni.
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“I just know that I have to be cool and composed,” Gasparoni said. “I just know that if I go my way, it will be best for me.”
Solon vists Vinton-Shellsburg on Friday.
AT IOWA CITY REGINA
Class 1A No. 1 Iowa City Regina 2, No. 2 Solon 1
(Regina won shootout, 4-3)
Goals — SOL: Luke McInnis 1 (8); ICR: Kieler Brown 1 (4). Assists — SOL: Nick Radcliffe 1 (2); ICR: Alec Wick 1 (2).
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