Photo by Jeff Yoder
Your Prep Sports
TIFFIN – Keokuk lined up to take a penalty kick in the first minute of the second half of a regional quarterfinal at Clear Creek-Amana on Thursday evening.
A big opportunity for the Chiefs to add to a slim one-goal lead.
It was an opportunity missed.
The Clippers took advantage, scoring four second-half goals to reach the semifinal round with a 4-1 win.
“They’ve been there,” coach Matt Harding said about the halftime deficit.
“We played a really tough schedule in the first month of the season and came through that 2-7, so we’ve been in that situation…and we knew we could play competitive soccer from that position.”
Carsyn Gallagher scored the go-ahead goal in the 60th minute on a cross from Lauren Riggle, who assisted on each of the Clippers’ first three scores.
“I just knew that Lauren was running up, and I knew that she would cross it, because that’s what we had been working on,” Gallagher said. “She had the perfect ball and played me in.”
Gallagher scored again nine minutes later, a team-high 16th goal of the season for the sophomore.
“Our intensity was up high in the second half; it was low in the first half,” she said. “We came out very slow and we couldn’t play the ball on the ground. Second half, we fixed everything and came out how we should.”
Riggle added a goal of her own in the 77th minute, rebounding her own shot off of the post and beating the keeper with her left foot.
“I just went for it,” she said. “It feels really good, especially as a freshman to help the seniors out.”
Fellow freshman Eliza Evans scored the equalizer, sneaking one past the Keokuk keeper 14 minutes into the second half.
“It wasn’t a very good shot really, but it slipped out of the goalie’s hands and went in,” Evans said.
“It felt really good, because it was the starting point of us getting back in the game, and getting a better attitude. “
It was the sixth win in a row for CCA, a streak aided by a rapidly improving freshman class. Riggle and Evans are among the four freshmen who account for 21 of the Clippers’ 45 goals on the season.
“We were aware of what was coming in with the freshmen class,” Harding explained. “A lot of them grew up playing together so it’s not anything specific that we’ve done, it’s something that’s almost innate because they’re so familiar with each other. It’s fortunate that they have that rapport with each other, so that we don’t have to waste any time learning that.”
Clear Creek Amana (10-8) will face 2A No. 11 Cedar Rapids Xavier (8-6) in the Class 2A Region 7 semifinals on Tuesday at 5 p.m. in Cedar Rapids.