Mid-Prairie quiets FairfieldThe Golden Hawks scored a season-high 11 goals in their regional semifinal victory
WELLMAN — Before Friday’s Class 1A regional semifinal, Mid-Prairie senior Kattie Redlinger had heard whispers that Fairfield was “coming for” the Golden Hawks.
It didn’t take long for Mid-Prairie to take the wind out of those boasts, as the Golden Hawks scored five goals in the first 12 minutes of the match en route to an 11-2 blowout win.
“We were like, ‘We’d better take it to them early so they don’t think they’re still in the game,’” Redlinger said. “We just came out strong and we put it away early.”
Did they ever. Senior Meghan Redlinger just missed a shot high on a breakaway less than a minute into the game, foreshadowing problems the Trojans would have with Mid-Prairie’s speedy forward.
Just over three minutes into the match, Meghan Redlinger took a shot from the left side, and it went off the fingertips of Fairfield goalkeeper Keri Schwarz. But junior Kira Kerkove was there for the rebound goal to start the scoring.
Two minutes later, Mid-Prairie sophomore Ali Riggan scored on an assist from Meghan Redlinger, and then Kerkove added a second goal to give the Golden Hawks a 3-0 lead with less than 10 minutes gone in the match.
“Three goals in the first 10 minutes, that was a rough start,” Fairfield head coach Michiel Hekker said.
A minute later, Kattie Redlinger juked out several Fairfield defenders before scoring. And less than a minute after that, Riggan scored on a breakaway to make it 5-0.
“They were connecting the passes and the through balls were phenomenal,” Mid-Prairie head coach Bristol Harris said. “[Fairfield] had a good formation, and once the girls started picking it apart, it was awesome. It was an awesome night.”
Fairfield junior Claudia Sloat answered with back-to-back goals to trim Mid-Prairie’s lead to 5-2 with less than five minutes remaining in the first half, but Meghan Redlinger scored just over a minute later, and the Golden Hawks led 6-2 at halftime.
Meghan Redlinger scored three more goals in the second half, and finished with four in the match. Kattie Redlinger added two more in the second half — one on a penalty kick and the other on a direct kick that she lofted over Fairfield’s wall and Schwarz — to finish with a hat trick.
“We didn’t anticipate [Meghan Redlinger] to be that quick to those through balls, so that made it tough,” Hekker said.
Mid-Prairie scored a season-high 11 goals in the rout.
“We were just a scoring machine tonight,” Kattie Redlinger said. “We just connected our passes and knew where each other were. We were just looking for each other and we weren’t selfish.”
Fairfield closed its season with a record of 8-7. The Trojans will lose seniors Katie Anderson, Michaela Anderson, Kaitlyn Daugherty, Tori Keltner, Huma Liptak, Sarah Morgan and Kayla Septer to graduation.
“They’re very passionate,” Hekker said of his seniors. “All of them wanted to win, obviously. All of the seniors came every practice, and every game they were ready to go. Even the seniors that didn’t make varsity, that played JV, played all the way to the last game. Overall, it was a good team. The team was very positive throughout the whole season. We’ll have seven seniors next year, so hopefully it will be another good season.”
Mid-Prairie (11-5-1) advances to today’s regional final at fourth-ranked Iowa City Regina (11-2), which will begin at 6 p.m. The Golden Hawks lost to the Regals 9-5 in Wellman on April 22.
“It’s going to be a fight,” Harris said of tonight’s matchup. “It’s going to be a battle. We’re going to go with defense, defense, defense and shut them down. We did a phenomenal job with them in the first half of that game [on April 22], and I think with the adjustments we’ve made on defense, it will be a different game.”