By Becky Walz,
The Class 2A Region 6 first-round game of the girls’ state soccer playoffs was a rematch of an early-season game between Independence (4-14) and Decorah (9-5) Friday night with the Vikes getting the win 4-0.
The first part of the game saw both teams shaking off some jitters. Decorah’s defense was tested when they gave up three consecutive corner kicks to the visitors, the last one being a near miss that was deflected out when Payton Taylor got in the way of a goal-bound shot in the nick of time. Independence’s goalkeeper probably gave their coach an ulcer when she mishandled a bouncing ball, almost giving up a cheap early goal to Decorah.
After about 12 minutes, Karen Henriquez was able to steal a ball at the edge of the penalty area and send in a cross. The Independence goalkeeper again misplayed the bounce, but this time Taryn Sanderman was nearby and made a quick-reaction header to score Viking’s first goal. Then, midway through the first half, Bella Bishop sent in another cross that a Mustang defender tried to clear. Her clearance found the foot of Abby Milburn, who was able to place the ball inside the far post.
About six minutes into the second half, a ball was sent into the Independence penalty area where their goalie, one of their defenders and Clara Rooney all converged. The defender got her toe to the ball, colliding with her goalkeeper in the process and sending her to the ground. But C. Rooney was able to intercept the toe-poke and was left all alone in front of a wide-open goal. She calmly placed the ball in the net for Decorah’s third goal.
Decorah’s final goal came when Ellen Rooney put in a cross from the right side that found a closely defended Abby Milburn on the far post. Milburn managed to put enough on the shot to put the ball just inside the post.
The Viking defense did yeoman’s work again, giving Independence few real chances to score. Most of Independence’s shots were from 25 to 35 yards away. Junior goalie Grace Bachelder made 11 saves.
“Now it’s off to formidable Waverly-Shell Rock. I hope to change some things in how we defend. We’ll have to play our best game to have a chance, but we’ll give it our best shot,” said Coach Loren Hendrickson.
The Vikings were on the pitch at Waverly (14-2) Wednesday, June 2. Complete game recap will be posted online when information becomes available.