Photo by Jeff Yoder
Photo by Jeff Yoder / Click here to view gallery
Your Prep Sports
When your team scores three times in the opening 30 minutes, puts up five goals and has a player with a hat trick it is easy for a coach to focus on the offense.
Long-time Regina coach Rick Larew knows quite well it’s defense that wins matches.
Class 1A second-ranked Regina was dynamite on both offense and defense in a 5-0 win over fifth-ranked Iowa Mennonite on Thursday at Regal Field.
"The thing was, we played a complete game, I was very pleased with that,” Larew said. “Sometimes we’re a little bit up and down but we played the complete game. We just were hitting on all cylinders.”
Regina jumped to a 3-0 lead in the opening 30 minutes and sophomore Alec Wick had a hat trick to push his season goal total to 18 but it was the defensive effort that caught the attention of Larew.
After allowing a season-high four goals in a loss to 1A top-ranked Waterloo Columbus on Saturday Regina was locked in defensively on Thursday allowing just two shots on goal to an IMS team that had scored 27 goals in its first seven games.
"You win games with defense, I don’t care what sport you’re in, and I thought that the defense played very, very, well,” Larew said.
Regina (8-3) posted shutouts in five of its first nine games before giving up four goals to Waterloo Columbus in the third of three matches on Saturday.
The Regals responded on Thursday by holding Iowa Mennonite (6-2) scoreless for the first time this season.
Prior to Thursday IMS had scored less than three goals in a game just once this season and had been shutout only once in its previous 35 matches dating back to 2017.
“We just had to play good defense because we knew they are a pretty talented team from when we play them last year,” Regina senior Max Peterson said. “We just had to be on their backs, that was the plan.”
Regina wasted no time taking control of the top-five matchup on Thursday.
Wick scored off a Leo Gasparoni assist less than 10 minutes into the match and added a second goal off a Kieler Brown corner kick just eight minutes later.
Brown gave Regina a 3-0 halftime cushion when he scored a goal in the 30th minute.
“We played a good ball down the side, that was kind of our idea on them, we figured out that we could go wide,” Brown said. “Mason made a good run down the sideline and we played an early cross in because I saw a little gap and then I just had a guy and I turned around on him on my back and just took a shot.”
That was more than enough offense for Regina which never allowed Iowa Mennonite to mount a consistent offensive attack.
“I thought we played really well, our possession was getting a lot better,” Brown said. “I thought that we controlled the game a lot more. We got some other guys in and they played really well. It was a good team effort.”
Jonah Warren made it 4-0 Regina with a goal in the 62nd minute and Wick capped his hat trick with a goal in the 73rd minute.
The Regina defense did the rest.
“We actually played five or six different guys back there and what we’re trying to do, our top three are sensational but we’re trying to gain confidence in our reserves, because a guy can go down and you have to play with confidence,” Larew said. “I was exceptionally pleased with how well all the reserves played. Our starters are just top notch, but our reserves need experience.”
Did you enjoy this subscription free article? Help keep Your Prep Sports free by becoming a member.