IOWA CITY — Iowa City West has a proud girls’ soccer tradition.
The Women of Troy qualified for the state tournament 16 times with two state championships between 1999 and 2017, then uncharacteristically slumped to 1-16 last season and started 2019 with eight losses in a row.
That appears to have been a temporary hiccup.
“We played a lot of really good competition in the beginning of the season,” West senior midfielder Marnie Vonderhaar said after the Women of Troy defeated No. 13 Iowa City High in overtime, 3-2, in a Class 3A regional semifinal Thursday at the University of Iowa Soccer Complex. “It was hard for our team because we had a lot of new freshmen coming in. It was just hard to learn how to play together, but I think that once we got that first win against (Dubuque) Wahlert (April 30), it was very motivating and we were able to realize that we could play together and have wins.”
West (8-10) now has eight wins in its last 10 matches. The match was suspended Wednesday at halftime due to weather with the teams tied at 1-1. Once play resumed Thursday, West freshman forward Kenadee Showalter gave the Women of Troy a 2-1 lead in the 62nd minute with her second goal of the match.
“When she gets the ball, she tends to put her head down and just go,” West Coach David Rosenthal said. “She has got a nose for the goal. She wants to score goals. She wants to take players on. We have had to teach her a little about patience, which is not easy to do. Gear down a little bit and figure out the moment and figure out the times to burst and figure out when to use your energy. See where the gaps are and take advantage of the opportunity you have.”
After City High tied the match at 2-2 with just over eight minutes left in regulation, Showalter took those words to heart. Less than 90 seconds into overtime, she completed her first career hat trick with the game-winning goal that sent her teammates sprinting toward her in celebration.
“I saw one of their defenders coming across,” Showalter said. “The goalie was coming at me and I saw the whole left side open, so I just tried to volley it in.”
Showalter is now tied with senior midfielder Rachel Olson with eight goals this season.
Senior Naomi Meurice scored her first goal this season for City High, which ends its season at 9-6. Twice selected as an all-conference goalkeeper in the Mississippi Valley Conference, Meurice moved to forward for the semifinals after breaking her left thumb before the regular-season finale.
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West advances to the 3A regional final Monday at No. 7 West Des Moines Dowling (12-3), winner of six matches in a row. Monday’s winner advances to the state tournament.
“We are going to have to keep our focus up and stay motivated,” Vonderhaar said. “I know Dowling has been doing really well this season, so I hope that we don’t come out playing scared instead of going out there and doing what we know how to do.”
CLASS 3A REGIONAL SEMIFINAL
At University of Iowa Soccer Complex
Iowa City West 3, No. 13 Iowa City High 2 (OT)
Goals — ICW: Kenadee Showalter 3 (8); ICH: Naomi Meurice (1).
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