ADEL - A-D-M’s goal just five minutes into its regional final with Glenwood Monday evening was all the Tigers needed to advance to this week’s Iowa State Soccer Meet.
Caroline Maher slipped a goal passed the diving hands of Glenwood goalkeeper Kristin Nakamoto in the game’s fifth minute and the Tigers added an insurance goal 22 minutes later to end the Rams’ season in the Class 2A, Region 3 championship match by a final score of 2-0.
A dejected Glenwood team and first-year head coach Amy Benson huddled and talked for several minutes after the game. Most of what was discussed, the coach said, concerned not this match but rather, next year.
“I told them to be proud of themselves,” Benson said after the match. “They fought hard and it was a good game. It just wasn’t our day. We’ll have the exact same team coming back next year with some additions. I’m definitely proud of them and what they did this year. We have the off-season to work on what we need to fix and come back better next year.”
Maher’s goal, coming off a set piece placed nicely by Lauren Hofmann’s corner kick, stunned the Rams just enough early to throw them off, Benson said. The Tigers’ second goal, coming off a looping assist from Liz Evers to Madison Bertman, all but drained the wind out of the Rams’ sails.
“We possessed the ball pretty well to begin the game but once they got that first goal, we let up a little bit and they out-possessed us from there,” Benson said. “The momentum definitely went their way. I thought we fought hard, especially in the second half, but we just had to finish better.”
Glenwood had its chances.
Down 1-0 in the 19th minute, Sarah Homan’s corner kick lofted perfectly into the scoring box but three attempts by three different Rams in a pinball scramble for the ball all came up empty.
“It was back-to-back-to-back and they (the Tiger defenders) just happened to be standing in front of every one of them,” Benson said. “If we were able to just put one on the board it definitely would have helped us switch some momentum back to even and put some wind in our sails to keep fighting offensively but it didn’t fall our way.”
The Rams mounted strong offensive threats in the 65th and again in the 68th minutes but the Tigers’ rugged defense and goalkeeper Mallory Schultze thwarted each offensive.
The Tigers’ constant pressure and experience paid dividends once they settled into their 2-0 lead, Benson said. A-D-M, making its third straight trip to state, started eight seniors who at times physically out-matched the Rams on defense and offense.
“We’re definitely not a very deep team,” Benson said. “We are younger. We lost seven starters from last year and a lot of new faces and formations so we did rise to the challenge, not many people thought we would get this far, and I’m very proud of that. We worked hard and deserved to be here.”
Glenwood wraps up its season with a final record of 11-7.