Sep. 7—OTTUMWA — Statistically speaking, the Indian Hills women's soccer team controlled the majority of the action on Tuesday against Wabash Valley.
The hosting Warriors had over three times as many shots as the visiting Warriors from Illinois, finishing with a 14-4 edge in the match including twice as many shots (7-3) on goal over the 90 minutes. Still, only Sage Prince was able to find the back of the net scoring the lone goal of the match in the 55th minute as IHCC earned a third straight victory with a 1-0 non-conference home win.
"Even when things aren't necessarily going right, everything's not necessarily clicking or the energy is just slightly off and we can't find the goal as much as we'd like to," IHCC head women's soccer coach Jon Hussak said. "When a team can still get the job done, that's all that matters. We found a way to get it done. That says something about their character. When it was a little off, they were still able to take care of business and find a win."
Prince joined Rose Blampain for the team lead in total goals this season, scoring her third goal for the Warriors. Indian Hills, ranked No. 19 in the latest United Soccer Coaches poll, have allowed just one goal over the last three matches including almost 216 consecutive shutout minutes.
That stellar defense allowed Indian Hills to overcome a bit of a sluggish start in Tuesday's match.
"Even from when we were in the locker room before the game to when we came out here for the warm-up, it took a little while for everyone to get into it," Hussak said. "In that first half, we kind of just identified that it was a matter of energy. We weren't playing incorrectly. We might have been forcing some things, but that comes from players wanting to move and wanting be on the ball. That's an energy issue. We coached a lot more at the half on their energy rather than on the tactical side of things."
That adjustment allowed Indian Hills to find an early scoring chance in the second half. Prince received a cross from the right side from the foot of teammate Maika Nchana and fired a shot on net that was initially stopped by the Wabash Valley keeper, but Prince was able to corral the rebound and find the back of the net.
"We talked at halftime about certain runs we needed to make and where we were giving up the ball a little too easily," Hussak said. "What ended up happening is the runs that we coached up at halftime led to the goal. It was a ball we channeled to Maika. Maika picked up and dribbled the ball across to Saige who should be in that space. She received it and scored. It's kind of a drawn-up play, but it's how we want part of our attack to occur."
Sophomore goal keeper Sarah Cogoli made her first start of the season, stopping three of the four shots taken during match by Wabash Valley (1-2-1). Cogoli now ranks fourth all-time with five career shutouts for Indian Hills.
"We've been talking a lot about the keepers that we have. We have two very outstanding keepers and it was just Sara's time to get in and get some minutes," Hussak said. "Her experience showed. She handled everything she needed to. There was no time I had to take a breath. We were confident in our keeper. That's what you want to be."
Indian Hills (3-1-2) will have a busy weekend in store, first welcoming in Iowa Community College Athletic Conference rival Iowa Lakes on Saturday starting at 1 p.m. The Warriors then turn around to host Western Wyoming on Sunday morning starting at 10 a.m.
"I wanted them to understand that Western Wyoming isn't just some team coming in. They went to Region 1 and stamped it. They left there 3-0 against some top teams. They beat Snow College, who has routinely been in the top 10 for the past five to six years," Hussak said. "Everything I've seen from Iowa Lakes, any team from the ICCAC, it's always a war.
"I want our players to be ramped going when they get into Saturday, not ramping up through Saturday. We're going to see how they can respond and take on the workload in the middle of the season. We were rested and ready at the start of the season. It's different when you've had six matches and have players with knocks and strains to deal with. We'll learn the character of some of our kids this weekend."
— Scott Jackson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter@CourierScott.