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IOWA CITY – As a four-year starter and team leader Nick Pechous has no problem letting his Regina teammates know when they need to raise the energy level.
Pechous didn’t need to say a word for the Regals to get the hint on Monday.
Class 1A top-ranked Regina scored four unanswered goals in the final 30 minutes to snap a 1-1 tie in a 5-1 victory over Gladbrook-Reinbeck (3-2) at Regina field.
“I didn’t have to say anything, we just knew we had to pick it up,” Pechous said. “We know the team we are, we know what we are capable of and I think we all knew we had to pick it up.”
Regina created plenty of scoring opportunities early and took a 1-0 lead less than 11 minutes in on the fourth goal of the season by freshman Alec Wick.
Despite several opportunities to add to its lead Regina took a 1-0 lead into the half.
“I thought our focus was not there in the first half,” Regina coach Rick Larew said. “I just didn’t think that we focused the way that we can and I was a little disappointed in that but on the other hand you don’t play every game perfect and I think overall the kids played pretty well.”
Playing with a strong breeze at its back in the second half Regina opened on the offensive but it was Gladbrook-Reinbeck that struck first.
Eli Thede tied the match at 1-1 when the sophomore chipped in a shot from outside the box to even the score in the 49th minute.
It took Regina less than a full minute to answer.
Just 50 seconds after the Rebels tied the score Mason Welter gave Regina the lead back with a goal off a nifty assist from Wick.
“Once they tied it up our effort just kicked up a notch,” Welter said. “We started playing harder after that.”
That was just the beginning for Regina.
Welter found Pechous alone in front of the net for an easy goal that stretched the lead to 3-1 in the 60th minute.
With Gladbrook-Reinbeck pushing forward for another potential equalizer, Regina junior defender Xavien Iben played a deep ball to Pechous who dumped it off to Welter.
Welter returned the favor with a pass to a wide-open Pechous for his team-leading ninth goal of the season.
“This year we have worked a little more on counter attack and we saw a perfect opportunity,” Pechous said. “Xavien played a good ball in to me and I played it off to Mason and he just one-timed it back to me for the goal.”
It was all Regina from that point on.
The Regals controlled possession for much of the second half and added goals from Tony Huang in the 67th minute and Leonardo Gasparoni in the 79th minute.
“In the end we just started playing our game,” Welter said. “We were a little frantic for a little bit but we started making sharper passes and making the easy play and it worked out.
On a day with temperatures in the low 80s Regina used its depth to its advantage in the second half.
The Regals brought in three or four subs at a time for most of the second half playing as many as 18 players in the match.
“I think overall the kids are playing very well, they are very coachable and we had 15-16-17-18 kids that can play for us,” Larew said. “That is not a small deal at the 1A level.”
The top-ranked team in 1A since week one, Regina improved to 7-1 on the season is a penalty kick loss to 3A second-ranked Bettendorf away from being undefeated.
Regina has scored three goals or more in five of eight matches this season.
“We have been practicing hard every day, every game we go in knowing that we have to play our best soccer no matter what,” Welter said. “We know that if we are playing our best soccer we can beat just about anyone.”