By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – As she put together the Regina schedule this season second-year coach Ann Larew had a plan.
The plan behind the challenging schedule is to play the best competition available early to prepare the defending 1A runner-up Regals for another late season run.
“Playing good competition is what we want to do and playing good competition is what is going to make us better. “Getting victories is nice and who doesn’t want to win and who doesn’t want to score goals but we are focused more on the outcome at the end of the season,” Larew explained. “I think that playing good competition is what makes us better.”
If Saturday’s performance against Class 3A ninth-ranked West Des Moines Dowling is any indication, Larew’s plan is paying dividends.
Class 1A fourth-ranked Regina pushed Dowling to the limit for 60 minutes before falling 2-1 on a sunny morning at Regal Field.
“To play with a big 3A school and a great team like Dowling and come away 2-1 that’s something we can build on,” Larew said. “It would have been much nice if we could have gotten that victory but I was very pleased especially with the first half.”
Dowling scored two goals in less than five minutes in the second half to erase a 1-0 deficit and improve to 4-0 on the season.
Abby Kornstad got the equalizer in the 59th minute and less than five minutes later Vivian Broderick scored on a free kick from just outside the box for the game-winner.
The loss was the second of the season for Regina against 3A competition and dropped the Regals to 1-3 on the season.
“We just have to build on 80 minutes,” Regina junior Lauren Gaarde said. “They are a really good team and we have a lot of freshman in that are inexperienced but I think they have gotten a lot better from our first game to now, which is exciting to see.”
Gaarde nearly gave Regina a lead less than five minutes into the match and then did put the Regals up 1-0 with a goal in the 11th minute.
The junior forward took and beat a pair of defenders into the box where she rocketed a shot into the upper right corner for a 1-0 lead.
“Kennedy played a really good ball and I just turned and shot,” Gaarde said. “I missed the one before so I knew I had to get this one in.”
Regina continued to pressure Dowling after the early goal and had a pair of other scoring opportunities come up empty.
“We came out with intensity and we played very well in the first half,” Larew said. “I think there were a lot of good things that we can build upon from the first half.”
Dowling immediately upped its offensive intensity to start the second half.
Junior goalkeeper came up with a couple of big saves to keep the score 1-0 until the 59th minute.
Wick tipped a Broderick shot over the goal in the 35th minute and made a save of a Lauren Broderick shot from point-blank range in the 51st minute.
The Maroons finally broke through when Kornstad put away a loose ball in front of the net with just under 22 minutes to play.
“They came out really strong and they took advantage of the gaps in our defense with our new formation,” Gaarde said. “They were just really aggressive and I think we were a little timid in the second half.”
Dowling took its first lead less than five minutes later when Vivian Broderick lofted a shot into the upper left hand corner of the goal from just outside of the box.
The shot by Broderick slipped just over the outstretched hand of Wick and under the cross bar.
“That was just a really good shot,” Wick said. “That was in the top corner and it’s tough to do anything against a shot like that.”
Regina wasn’t able to mount much of an offensive attack in the final 17 minutes as Dowling held on for the win.
“We struggled a little bit in the second half and had trouble maintaining our intensity,” Larew said. “I think that’s just something as a young team that as we mature and get better this season we will be there.