Council Bluffs, IA: Western Nebraska CC used an overtime penalty kick to upend #3 Iowa Western in the season opener for both teams.
How It Happened: Iowa Western dominated the match for long stretches registering 22 shots in the match to Western Nebraska's 2 shots on goal. The Reivers started brightly creating a quality chance in the the 3rd minute. Freshman Sophie Hoban got endline and skipped past a defender just inside the 18 and found Colombian midfielder Lina Jaime 12 yards out who fired a one-time shot straight at the WNCC keeper. That would presage the rest of the match for the Reivers as the home side created enough chances to win the match, but were unable to deliver. Sophomore Kauany Sousa struck the underside of the cross bar in the 41' after getting behind the Cougar back line off a pass from captain Estefanía Cardona, but the Cougar keeper was able to scramble and collect the rebound.
In the second half, the Reivers thought they found the breakthrough in the 76' when Sousa headed in off a McKenna Banks cross from 8 yards out, but was called offside. In the 86', Hoban missed narrowly after she rounded the keeper and shot from a tight angle from the right side of the goal. The ball came tantalizingly close to finding the back post, but rolled just wide for a Cougar goal kick.
Western Nebraska seemed content to sit back and absorb the Reiver attacks and counter. The tactic paid off in the 97' when a Cougar forward was pulled down in the box. Rafaela Passos converted the ensuing PK to end the match.
Notes & Numbers: The Reivers drop to 0-1 on the season. Iowa Western has failed to win back-to-back season openers for since 2014.
Quotes: Coach Adam Sanchez: "Today was a tough lesson and a common one in soccer. The numbers will say that we dominated the match in every category except the one that matters. Western Nebraska came with a game plan to sit in and counter and hats off to them as it worked out. We can say that we were a bit unlucky, but we also weren't sharp enough in the moments that we created quality chances. We hate losing, but we hate not growing and learning more. It's not the start we wanted, but I think we learned a bit about ourselves today."
Up Next: The Reivers look to rebound quickly as they host Barton County CC on Sunday, August 25th at the Reiver Sports Complex at 11 am. The match can be viewed live at www.njcaatv.com/iwcc. Match updates can be found on Twitter at @ReiverWSoccer