DES MOINES — Year after year, the Iowa City Regina boys’ soccer team is at its best on the biggest stage.
The Regals have reached a state championship match eight times in the last 11 seasons.
They have won them all.
“I would like to thank the coaching staff the most,” Regina senior midfielder Jonah Warren said after the second-ranked Regals defeated No. 1 Waterloo Columbus, 1-0, and won their third Class 1A state title in a row Tuesday at Cownie Soccer Park. “They just prepare us and get us ready for every game. They do so much for us.”
This is the second time in school history that Regina (18-6) has won three state championships in a row. The Regals also claimed three crowns from 2009-11. Only Cedar Rapids Xavier (2004-06) and Iowa City West (2012-14) have matched the feat, but Regina is the first to do it twice.
“I am most proud of these guys growing up,” said Regina Coach Rick Larew, who has the led the Regals to all eight of their state titles. “Growing up is harder for these guys than some of my other classes. Growing up is a lot harder than playing soccer. I am very proud of these guys.”
The match was scoreless until the 73rd minute, when Regina sophomore forward Alec Wick dribbled just inside the penalty area and was tripped up between Columbus defenders Noah Lumpa and Michael Pranger.
“(Pranger) just made a mistake,” said Wick, who was named to the all-tournament team for the second year in a row. “He is a great defender. … He just made a mistake and I took advantage of it. I saw him coming up from the back and stepped in front of him and he fouled.”
The ensuing penalty-kick attempt by Warren was saved by Columbus goalkeeper Aidan Schmitz, but the ball bounced right back to Warren for the finish, his fourth goal this season.
“I’m a little mad I missed the first,” said Warren, also named to the all-tournament team. “The ball came back out, I just followed it and put it back in the net.”
Columbus sported a pair of prolific goal scorers in junior midfielder/forward Saw Win Lin (33 goals) and senior forward/midfielder Nga Reh (29), but was held scoreless for just the second time all season thanks to a stingy Regina defense led by junior defender Michael Dunn and junior goalkeeper Josh Dutchik, both all-tournament honorees.
“We just played our best game,” Dutchik said. “Every single one of us just worked their hardest. They know how badly we wanted this. They know how good they were, so we just had to play our best game. That is what all of us did.”
Columbus ends its season at 20-3. It was the second appearance in a state final in school history for the Sailors, who won the championship in 2012.
In the 1A consolation match, West Liberty (11-9) finished fourth after dropping a 2-1 decision to Sioux Center (15-5) in two overtimes.
CLASS 1A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP
At Des Moines
No. 4 Iowa City Regina 1, No. 2 Waterloo Columbus 0
Goal — Jonah Warren (4).
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