By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
SOLON – When your team is 1-6 over its last seven matches and has lost three in a row as a coach you aren’t going to be picky about how you get a win.
Ann Larew would have taken a win any way she could get one on Tuesday but the Regina coach couldn’t have written a more fitting way for the Regals to get back in the win column.
Lauren Gaarde scored two goals in a span of 45 seconds in the final 17 minutes as Regina rallied for a 2-1 win over Class 1A No. 12 Solon on senior night at Spartan Stadium.
The win snapped a three-match losing skid for Regina (4-11) and stopped a stretch of eight consecutive losses for the Regals in matches decided by one goal.
“We have been there, we have been there, we have been there but we were having trouble getting to the final seconds,” Larew said. “Today we didn’t hang on to the end we got stronger as time went on.”
Playing without senior Josie Durr for the first time since the state’s leading goal scorer was injured in a loss to Williamsburg last week, Solon (10-7) took a 1-0 lead when Tara Lance scored in the 56th minute.
Rather than panic Regina bounced back and quickly.
Gaarde tied the score with a goal off a Greyson Dumont assist in the 63rd minute and 45 seconds later put the Regals up for good with her second goal of the match.
“It’s really important that even if they score we can’t get our heads down and tonight we still had like 20 minutes left so we knew we still had time,” Gaarde said. “We were just thinking about bouncing back.”
The late rally was the perfect way for Regina to get on track after a seemingly endless stretch of close losses.
Five of the last six matches for Regina before Tuesday night had gone to overtime with Regina coming up on the wrong end of each of the five matches that went to extra time.
When Lance put away a rebound following a Taylor Ryan shot to give Solon the lead it appeared Regina was in for another close loss.
This time the Regals were the team making the plays late.
“We were tired of losing in overtime so it was more of a mad sense of feeling,” junior Greyson Dumont said. “That goal actually kind of just sparked us.”
Gaarde pulled Regina even when she took a pass from Dumont just outside the box and beat a defender before slipping a shot past the Solon keeper.
Less than a minute later it was Gaarde again who provided the game-winner with a straight away shot from inside the box.
“In the beginning of the season we were losing by a lot of goals and lately it’s just finishing games that we’ve been struggling with the most,” Gaarde said. “To be able to finish a game out tonight is a boost for us going into the rest of the season.”
The defending 2A runner-up, Regina closes the regular season Friday hosting top-ranked and defending state champion Davenport Assumption.
Regina opens regional play against No. 15 West Liberty and could face Solon again in the regional semifinals.
The loss was the third straight for Solon and second without Durr who leads the state with 61 goals this season.
“There is a good chance we are going to meet them again in regionals,” Solon coach John Tucker said. “It was a great look tonight to see what they have to see what we have to see how we match up and see what we need to do in the next week and a half if we do end up meeting them again.”