Women’s soccer: Warriors fall short of regional soccer title | Sports

Women’s soccer: Warriors fall short of regional soccer title | Sports

TREYNOR – Never before has the Indian Hills women’s soccer team had the lead in a regional championship match.

At least until Saturday, when the ninth-ranked Warriors took a pair of one-goal leads against fifth-ranked Iowa Western in another thrilling battle for Iowa Community College Athletic Conference supremacy.

Despite leads of 2-1 and 3-2, the Warriors could not hold off the Reivers to claim the program’s first regional title. Paula Boza scored a pair of second-half goals, including the tiebreaking score in the final four minutes of Iowa Western’s 4-3 win over Indian Hills winning for the second time in three matches with the Warriors.

Indian Hills wraps up the regular season with an 18-2 overall record, the winningest record in the history of the program. Iowa Western was the only team to beat Indian Hills this season, bouncing back after IHCC won the first of the three matches this season with the Reivers, 3-1, in Ottumwa in what has proven to be Iowa Western’s only loss so far this season.

The Warriors will now wait to receive an at-large berth to the NJCAA DI Women’s Soccer National Tournament, being played Nov. 15-20 in Daytona Beach, Florida. The national tournament allows for four at-large berths, one of which IHCC claimed in the 2020-delayed season this past spring, along with the eight district champions to complete the 12-team field.

The at-large selection committee will announce its at-large selections on Sunday, Nov. 7, per the NJCAA. Saturday’s match lived up to the hype as one of the top NJCAA matches of the year as both sides traded blows back and forth.

The Reivers, ranked No. 5 in the latest national rankings, struck first against the No. 9 Warriors just four minutes into the match. Indian Hills wasted no time with a response as Bailey Wiemann received a pass from Georgie Lewis just over a minute later to notch the score at one-all.

Sophomore Risa Ogasawara stunned the crowd with a shot from 35-yards out in the 21st minute to push the Warriors on top, 2-1. Indian Hills maintained its advantage for the remainder of the half to take a 2-1 lead into the locker room.

Clinging to the lead, the Warriors let up a goal in the 54th minute as Iowa Western struck off a rebound to even the match at two apiece. Looking for an answer, the Warriors went to its leading scorer in Wiemann as the sophomore netted a goal less than four minutes later after receiving a long through ball from Seira Uko to regain the lead.

The Reiver offense went back into attack mode and eventually scored in the 67th minute to tie the match at 3-3. The Warrior defense felt the pressure from the Reivers over the next 20 minutes, a threat that eventually led to a goal from Iowa Western in the 87th minute.

The valiant effort from the Warriors in the closing minutes was not enough as Iowa Western claimed its sixth consecutive Region XI championship. Three Warriors were recognized on the NJCAA Region XI All-Tournament Team for their play throughout the postseason including Wiemann, Ogasawara and defender Abbie Bailey were honored for their efforts in the region playoffs.

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