DES MOINES - This time the ball didn’t bounce Nevada’s way versus Regina.
Nevada suffered a 2-1 loss to the Regals in overtime during the Class 1A state quarterfinals June 7 at the Cownie Soccer Park in Nevada.
The Cubs, ranked third in 1A, had defeated the No. 8 Regals to end the regular season in Iowa City. Nevada won that contest in a shootout, also by a 2-1 score.
At state it was another barn-burner. It took a phenomenal long-range shot from the Regals’ Lauren Gaarde to sink the Cubs and advance the Regals onto the semifinals.
“They’re a really good ball club,” Nevada senior midfielder Hattie Rhodes said. “We were happy to play them in-season and we beat them in PKs. It got back into overtime (at state) to show how competitive we were with them. It just didn’t go our way today.”
In a back-and-forth game, Nevada was the first team to seize the advantage.
Midway through the first half, Meredith Harter came through with a goal off an assist from Rhodes to put Nevada up 1-0. The Cubs maintained their edge for the next 35 minutes, as neither team could solve the other’s tough defense.
But during the 59th minute, the Cubs had a breakdown when they lost track of Gaarde. Gaarde dribbled near the goal, beating a Nevada defender, then slipping the ball into the net to even the score.
From that point on, Nevada was on the defensive the rest of the half.
The Cubs were without starting charger Abbie Lindsey for the game. But Megan Wessels and Amelea Jones stepped in at the position and performed admirably, backed by the routinely strong play of Francis, sweeper Kacie Rewerts and fullbacks Hailey Miller and Aubrey Gibson.
“Throughout the season defense — from my stance — got a lot better,” Francis said. “We started to flow better, especially this game. They played really hard the entire game. (Gaarde) got a way from us once and she finished, but they came back and they pushed the entire game.”
Gaarde got one more good look in regulation, but Francis made a diving stop with six minutes left to help push the game into overtime.
Regina nearly scored in the opening minute on a great run. On their next good opportunity, the Regals made sure to capitalize.
Gaarde received the ball from around the 18 on the left side and drilled a perfect cross over the outstretched reach of Francis and into the far corner of the net.
“They had more offensive attacks, but if they’re going to shoot from outside, we were comfortable,” Nevada head girls’ soccer coach Randy Davis said. “That was a great shot from outside. It got over outstretched hands and there’s nothing you can do about that except maybe step sooner outside.”
Nevada finished the season at 15-5. The Cubs defeated four state qualifying teams — Regina, North Polk, Pella and Columbus Catholic — and made it back to state despite losing a lot of speed and talent off last year’s state semifinal team.
“If this is a rebuilding year — I’ll take it every year,” Davis said. “We do the same thing that we do and try and play soccer that we know how to play and hopefully that’s good enough. It’s a program and it’s a lot of people — it’s not me. Trust me, it’s the people that do things before they get to me that make it successful up here.”
The Cub senior class finished their careers with four state trips and a 63-16-1 record.
“We got back to where we wanted to be,” Rhodes said. “A lot of people don’t make it here once and we were lucky enough to make it here four times.”
Regina fell to Bishop Heelan Catholic in the semifinals on Friday, 1-0, to end the season at 11-8. Davenport Assumption won its third-consecutive state title and sixth in seven years on Saturday with a convincing 8-0 rout of Bishop Heelan.
Iowa City Regina 2, Nevada 1 (OT)
ICR 0 1 1 - 2
N 1 0 0 - 1
N - Meredith Harter (Hattie Rhodes), 23:00.
ICR - Lauren Gaarde, 59:22.
ICR - Gaarde, 81:56.