Regals bump Golden Hawks from the playoffs
IOWA CITY — Every time Mid-Prairie forward Meghan Redlinger received the ball during Monday’s Class 1A regional final at fourth-ranked Iowa City Regina, wave after wave of Regal defenders came running at her.
“The whole time I was like triple-teamed or double-teamed,” Redlinger said. “It’s really hard with three defenders on you.”
Redlinger, who entered Monday’s match the fifth-leading scorer in Class 1A with 30 goals on the season, was held scoreless. And so were the Golden Hawks, who fell to Regina 4-0.
“With great players, you just have to be on top of your game and you have to beat them with your whole defense instead of one single player,” Regina head coach Jordan Grimm said of his defensive strategy. “I’m really happy with how we played.”
Regina (12-2) controlled the ball early in the match, and much of the play happened on Mid-Prairie’s half. But the Golden Hawk defense was able to keep the Regals from scoring.
“That first half was phenomenal,” Mid-Prairie head coach Bristol Harris said. “The whole game plan going in was to shut them down in the first 10 minutes, for no other reason than to just make them mad. Because that’s what it does. If they can’t score in the first 10 minutes, it throws them off their game a little bit. Then when it went longer and longer and longer, we thought, ‘Hey, this is going good.’ Then we made one slip-up and they got that goal in on us.”
Regina scored when freshman Lauren Ronnfeldt found the right corner of the goal on an assist from junior Katie Wick with 16:41 remaining in the first half. The Regals added a second goal before halftime when freshman Jenny Wick scored on a breakaway with just under eight minutes remaining. But Harris wasn’t deterred, even with his team trailing 2-0 at the break.
“We won that first half,” he said. “Even though it was 2-zip, we won that first half.”
But the Golden Hawks were unable to close the gap in the second half. Redlinger was bumped and jostled by Regina defenders every time she got the ball.
“They’re very physical,” Harris said of the Regals. “At times there were three [defenders] on [Meghan]. Two would come in on her, and then she would go to make the pass, and a third girl would come in. Yeah, they were very physical.”
Mid-Prairie got just five shots off on Regina’s goal, and senior Megan Fackler saved all five of them. Her counterpart, Mid-Prairie keeper Cassidy Bontrager, fended off many shots, but four got past her.
Regina made it 3-0 when Ronnfeldt scored her second goal of the game with 24:41 remaining, and then senior Tori Lust scored on an assist from freshman Lizzy Deprenger with under six minutes left.
The Regals advance to the Class 1A state tournament, which will begin on Thursday at the Cownie Soccer Park in Des Moines. Regina will meet fifth-ranked Nevada (12-5) in a state quarterfinal on Field 9 at 12:45 p.m. on Thursday.
Mid-Prairie, which was shut out for only the third time this year, closed the season with a record of 11-6-1. Redlinger, one of five seniors along with twin sister Kattie, Taylor Hershberger, Emma Lappe and Tangier Miller, said it was tough to fall just short of a trip to state.
“It stinks, but you’ve got to deal with it,” she said. “I think that we came out how we wanted to. We improved a lot throughout the year, and that was one of our goals.”