By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – Rachel Olson caught a glimpse of the scoreboard out of the corner of her eye and took a shot.
In football it would have been a Hail Mary, in hoops a half court heave.
In Friday’s cross-town showdown with rival City High the shot by Olson was the difference.
Olson’s shot from 30 yards out with six seconds left in the first half snapped a scoreless tie and helped Class 3A second-ranked West High to a 2-0 win over No. 11 City High on a chilly evening at the University of Iowa Soccer Complex.
“I honestly wasn’t expecting it to go in at all, I was just going to shoot it and then it went in,” Olson said. “I wasn’t expecting to score there.”
West High improved to 7-0 with the win and moved to 3-0 in Mississippi Valley Conference play.
The 2-0 victory came after West High used late goals to earn 2-1 wins over City High each of the past two seasons.
On Friday, the drama came at the end of the first half as Olson lofted a shot over City High keeper Naomi Meurice that bounced off the crossbar and in in the final seconds of the first half.
“In the last three years with City High we have had something go on right before half or right at the end of the game to make a difference,” West High coach Dave Rosenthal said. “If you go into halftime 0-0 and you have one type of conversation and you into halftime 1-0 and the conversation changes a little bit.”
Regan Steigleder added a goal in the 56th minute and West High posted it fourth shutout of the season to extend its winning streak over its cross-town rival.
City High dropped to 4-3 on the season and 2-2 in MVC play with its second straight shutout defeat.
“We just didn’t have a player seize a moment,” City High coach Michael Prunty said. “We didn’t have someone step up and they had two players step up in moments and score goals and we just floated around the idea and never really did it.”
West High controlled possession for much of the first half but wasn’t able to mount much of an offensive attack.
The two best West High scoring opportunities were thwarted by Meurice saves.
As the clock ticked down in the first half Olson settled the ball on the left side of the box following a West High throw in tried to put a shot on frame.
“Once she threw it in I knew I had to take a shot,” Olson said. “I had no idea it was going in.”
The shot carried just outside the outstretched hands of Meurice, caught the crossbar and kicked in to give West High a 1-0 lead and the momentum.
“It boosted our confidence a lot,” Steigleder said of the goal. “In the first half a lot of our players were playing a little nervous and then right after that I think we stepped up in the second half.”
City High took its turn controlling possession early in the second half but couldn’t find the net.
The best chance came when Grace Brown rocketed a straight on shot from outside the box in the 67th minute but West High keeper Katie McGrane was able to tip it over for a save.
West High cleared the ensuing corner kick and kept City High at bay for the rest of the half.
“They were putting a lot of pressure on us and forcing us to really to play out of the back,” Rosenthal said. “We really had to step up our game to make sure we were comfortable keeping the ball when they are putting that much pressure on is.”