MARION — For the most part, the rain stayed away from Linn-Mar Stadium on Monday.
Literally, that is. Figuratively, the second half was a deluge.
Third-ranked Linn-Mar scored four times in a 21-minute stretch and dominated No. 14 Muscatine, 5-0, in a Class 3A girls’ soccer regional final.
“We’ve been kind of slow starters this season,” said Piper Carey, who assisted on Linn-Mar’s first goal, then scored the next two. “This game pushed us not to do that.
“Hopefully we have three games left, and they’re going to be against better teams.”
Linn-Mar (18-1) advances to the state tournament for the second consecutive year; the Lions will face No. 6 Ankeny (16-3) in a quarterfinal Thursday afternoon at James Cownie Soccer Complex, Des Moines.
Ankeny blanked Cedar Rapids Prairie, 4-0, Monday. The Hawks eliminated Linn-Mar in the state quarterfinals last year, 5-1.
“We haven’t gotten past the first round in school history,” starting goalkeeper Anna Kimball said. “That’s the first goal. Of course the ultimate goal is a state championship.”
Kimball and Waverly Patterson combined to give the Lions their 13th shutout of the season. Linn-Mar has outscored its opponents by a 62-8 count.
ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT
“Our defensive line is so strong,” Kimball said. “They communicate well and stop almost everything. They keep a lot of the work out of my hands.”
There weren’t many shots that got to Kimball. The Lions controlled play and led an unofficial shots-on-goal count by 18-4, including 13-2 after intermission.
The Muskies (8-5) kept it at a scoreless slatemate for nearly 28 minutes, before Carey located Hallie Peak, and Peak finished from about 15 yards out.
“Piper did a good job beating two of their defenders,” Peak said. “I found a small opening, and she found me. It was easy from there.”
It remained 1-0 at halftime, then Carey scored two goals in the first eight minutes of the second half to put it away.
First, she ended a run to the net by firing the ball past the keeper in the lower left corner of the net. Then she added a penalty kick to make it 3-0.
“We had a lot more confidence after that first goal,” Carey said.
Allison Post scored off a rebound with 17:25 left in the match, then Emma Casebolt did likewise to conclude the scoring with 15:42 to go.
LINN-MAR 5, MUSCATINE 0
3A Regional Final, at Linn-Mar
Goals — Linn-Mar: Hallie Peak (13), 27:47; Piper Carey 2 (13), 43:39, 47:26 (PK), Allison Post (2), 62:35; Emma Casebolt (2), 64:18.
Assists — Linn-Mar: Carey (6).
Halftime — Linn-Mar 1, Muscatine 0.
l Comments: (319) 368-8857; email@example.com