By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
CEDAR RAPIDS – Every soccer match features a missed scoring opportunity or two so a couple of squandered opportunities early didn’t produce much panic for West High on Monday.
When an all-state player and one of the top goal scorers in the state misses wide on a penalty kick the anxiety goes up a notch or two.
The anxious moments didn’t last long for West High.
Regan Steigleder broke a scoreless tie 13 seconds after fellow senior all-stater Emma Cooper failed to convert on a penalty kick and West High never looked back in a 3-1 win over Cedar Rapids Prairie (4-5, 3-4) on a wet, windy and chilly night at John Wall Field in Cedar Rapids.
“We didn’t get down on ourselves after the missed pk, we knew we weren’t scoring partly because of the weather conditions,” Steigleder said. “I think that goal made us calm down and start playing with more confidence.”
Cooper got her redemption for the missed penalty kick with a pair of goals as Class 3A second-ranked West High improved to 10-0 on the season and 6-0 in Mississippi Valley Conference play.
The senior forward gave West High a 2-0 halftime lead with a goal with 14.8 seconds left in the first half.
“That for me was just a redemption thing,” Cooper said. “I was aware of the clock and I was just frustrated. I wanted that goal.”
Cooper added another goal in the 60th minute as West High scored at least three goals for the third straight match.
“The weather was definitely hard for us and it just makes it less about the quality of the team and more about the chances, who can put away the chances and we didn’t do that early and that was frustrating,” Cooper said. “I think it’s good for us to develop and play in those types of games because the weather isn’t always going to be great.”
Battling cold temperatures, gusting winds and rain showers West High needed more than 30 minutes to get on the scoreboard.
West High missed a pair of scoring opportunities in the opening 20 minutes but failed to catch a break when Prairie was whistled for a foul in the box setting up Cooper with a penalty kick with 9:41 left in the opening half.
Cooper’s kick sailed just wide of the right post and the match remained scoreless.
Just 13 seconds later Steigleder put West High on top when she headed a ball past onrushing Prairie goalkeeper McKenna Wilson in the 31st minute.
With Wilson rushing towards the edge of the 18-yard box, Steigleder got just enough of the ball from just outside the box to knock it past Wilson and bounce it into the goal.
“I just noticed that she was coming out and the ball was in the air so I knew I could score if I got enough power on it with my head,” Steigleder said. “It worked out.”
Cooper did the rest.
She slipped a shot past Wilson from the left side of the box on a breakaway with 14.8 seconds left to put the Women of Troy up 2-0 at the half.
“That first goal for us was just huge because it’s freezing, it’s sleeting and I think that was just able to change the game for us,” Cooper said. “It didn’t’ feel like such an uphill battle after that.”
Cooper capped the West High scoring with a left-footed rocket into the upper left corner of the goal from just outside the box in the 60th minute.
Prairie got on the board in the 78th minute on goal by sophomore Sophia Meier.
“We talked about the weather being something that was really important today,” West High coach Dave Rosenthal said. “If we could overcome some of those things and stay on top of the weather we thought we would have success.”