DES MOINES — It’s been said in old literature and in “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” that revenge is a dish best served cold.
It’s been nearly a year since Council Bluffs Lewis Central defeated Waverly-Shell Rock in the championship match of the Class 2A girls’ state tournament at the James W. Cownie Soccer Complex, 1-0. Just like last year, the Go-Hawks entered the 2019 tournament as the second seed, but this time, the Titans, who were going for their third consecutive state title, were the seventh seed, not No. 1, as they met in the quarterfinals.
Also different from the previous meeting was the result. Tied at 1 heading into the second extra-time period, Kenzie Roling redirected a cross from Morgan Aikey and rolled it past Lewis Central goalkeeper Hannah Lucy to the far post just 22 seconds after the restart to get the 2-1 victory to advance to Friday’s semifinals.
W-SR head coach Lauren Greiner said there was a lot of excitement following the golden-goal victory over the Titans (14-5).
“The girls really wanted it, and they’re persistent,” Greiner said after the match. “They knew that they were going to need to work, work, work, and I think that was made apparent in that run that Aikey made down the field. She just went all-out, went for it, and it happened.”
Roling, who scored her 37th goal of the season with the game-winner, said getting the victory felt great.
“It’s exactly what we wanted, and now, we just have to keep going,” the sophomore super striker said.
Aikey said being able to contribute as a first-year player was just as cool.
“I just think that it’s awesome that me and a few of my friends can come in and help,” Aikey said. “(Just had to) finish business.”
Early in the match, it looked like W-SR (16-1) was going to dominate play. In the third minute, Sasha Wilson served the ball toward Roling in the penalty area, but her header was stopped by Lucy on the first chance of the match.
But a little more than a minute later, after 3:30 had been played, the Go-Hawks found paydirt. Wilson centered the ball for Roling in the box, who then made the extra pass to Kennedy Rieken for the goal from just to the right of the spot.
Greiner was excited about getting the first tally of the proceedings.
“I thought we were really strong, and I was excited that we came out strong,” she said. “Unfortunately, we weren’t able to continue that. We kind of fell out of our game there for a while.
“It was super exciting, but in the same respect, we didn’t keep it up for the full 80 like I had hoped.”
The Titans started to assert themselves like they did in the ‘18 title game. In the 15th minute, they were awarded three consecutive corner kicks, but they were unable to capitalize on either opportunity.
In the 19th, Lewis Central mounted an attack, but Jayden Cross was ruled to be offside on a through ball that snuffed the rush.
The Go-Hawks had another chance in the 29th minute, but Hailee Kent’s shot went high and wide of the goal for the goal kick.
The Titans got their best chance of the game in the 31st minute. As Taylor Gregory advanced into the box to get into position for a possible shot, Amanda Behrends knocked her over, allowing the referee to award the penalty kick.
In the resulting spot shot, Mikayla McCart shot the ball to her right, but it was too close to Go-Hawk goalkeeper Gabby Burman. However, the rebound was spilled, and McCart was able to put the ball into the net to even the match at 1 with 9:54 to play in the first half.
“Gabby came up with an excellent save,” Greiner said. “That’s all you can ask for in a keeper in that circumstance.
“Unfortunately, our girls didn’t follow it in as we should’ve, and they were able to get the second chance on that.”
The second half was mainly back and forth, but Roling nearly broke the deadlock in the 42nd minute off a corner kick. Wilson’s service went into the 6-yard box, but Roling’s redirection went just wide.
Three minutes later, Cross made a run at goal, but her shot was tapped into the crossbar by Burman. After another 6 minutes, Roling took a chance, but Lucy was able to stop it.
Moving ahead to the 75th minute, Wilson put a corner kick into the box that Lucy was able to punch out to about the 25-yard mark. However, Aikey was able to collect the ball, but her resulting shot went wide of the net.
In the 79th minute, Wilson tried to connect with Roling once more during the flow of play. However, the crossing pass was intercepted by Lucy. That kept the game knotted and heading into overtime.
In the first 10-minute extra period, the Go-Hawks had a pair of opportunities in the 83rd minute. Both Rieken and Macy Smith had shots on frame, but Lucy was able to parry them away.
Then with just 10 seconds before the change of sides, Cross tried to put a 30-yard desperation shot on net, but it wound up short and wide of goal.
With the Go-Hawks getting the kickoff to start the final 10 minutes, Aikey raced Gracy Bernard to the ball along the touchline near the bleachers used for Grand View University’s soccer matches. Aikey was able to keep the ball in play and centered it.
After a deflection from Camryn Grawe, the ball found Roling’s feet, who chipped the ball past Lucy to the far post for the golden goal. A sea of black kits rushed into the 18 to hug both Roling and Aikey in victory, while the white-outfitted Titans wondered what just happened.
“I was just trying to play to the whistle,” Aikey said of her hustle. “I said that (Bernard) was trying to slow me down. I just ran through it.
“I saw Kenzie. She was right there, she’s always there.”
Roling said the soccer ball almost seemed to be as big as a beach ball coming toward her.
“It was just played perfectly, and (Aikey) did all of that work to get there,” she said. “I knew I had to do it to get it into the back of the net.”
Greiner, the W-SR coach, said that her star scorer’s goal erased a lot of frustration in the second half and the first period of OT.
“For Kenzie to be in the right place at the right time on the last one, it was excellent,” she said.
On Friday, the Go-Hawks play against third-seeded Dallas Center-Grimes, who also had an OT winner against Pella, 1-0.
“We’re happy, we’re excited, and we hope to keep our momentum going,” Roling said.
“We’re just going to keep playing our game,” Aikey added. “Come out from the start, and get some things done.”