Sep. 1—OTTUMWA — Through the first 318 minutes of the season, the Indian Hills women's soccer team struggled to put the ball in the back of the net.
Not so much lately. After scoring just one goal in the first seven halves of soccer this season, the Warriors are on a roll netting 11 goals in just over 132 minutes.
Indian Hills put together it's most explosive offensive effort of the season on Wednesday, breaking things open midway through the first half against first-year program Western Iowa Tech. Four different players scored first-half goals for the Warriors in a 7-0 Iowa Community College Athletic Conference home win giving IHCC back-to-back wins after opening the season with two draws and a shutout road loss at Johnson County.
"When you have good players making good finishes around the goal, the balls find a way to find the back of the net," Indian Hills head women's soccer coach Jon Hussak said. "Kenya (Lee), who doesn't normally figure in the scoring for us being a right back, started us off with a beautiful finish from a set piece that we have as a planned play. She absolutely buried it."
Lee's first goal of the season was just the start of a dominant four minutes for the Warriors. After setting up Lee, Alexia Bru buried her first goal of the season just 59 seconds later instantly doubling IHCC's lead.
"It just kind of kept rolling from there," Hussak said.
Sage Prince got into the mix scoring off an assist from Maika Nchana in the 23rd minute giving IHCC a 3-0 lead in a match that had been scoreless just two minutes earlier. Leila Karam added her first goal just over a minute later on a shot from 20-yard out opening a 4-0 lead for the Warriors.
"Comparing the last home games we had when we tied our first two matches, it's a great feeling for our team to have come together the way we have," Prince said. "Our chemistry is better. We've been working a lot more on finishing and going to the goal. This shows how much we've progressed from our last match."
Indian Hills broke through in a big way just a few days earlier at Jefferson College. Trailing 1-0 entering the second half, Rose Blampain scored twice in the 48th and 60th minutes to get the Warriors on track as IHCC put four goals on the board before the match was over clinching a 4-1 win over Vikings.
"We had some first-half struggles in that match, but we're starting to find ourselves mentally," Hussak said. "That is what gives a team confidence. We're talking a lot about confidence and enjoying what you do. It starts to show as the match unfolds."
Prince added her second goal of Wednesday's match in the 37th minute, giving Indian Hills a 5-0 halftime lead. Blampain added her team-leading third goal of the season on a feed from Milena Leon and Stephani Alves in the 56th minutes before Karam closed out the match putting in one final goal with 16 seconds left, her second goal and third point of the day.
"It's a good feeling to score a couple of goals. I'm here to help the team and winning 7-0 is always great," Karam said. "We work in practice in how to finish in combination and how to go to the goal. We've got great players. We have a lot of freshmen this year, so the first matches are good to learn where everybody fits and how we can work together to combine our talents to have great chemistry together."
As a team, the Warriors tallied a season-high 35 shots, with 18 shots on goal while the defense limited the Comets (0-5) to just one shot on goal for the afternoon. Indian Hills (2-1-2) also earned seven corner kicks with five coming in the first half alone against the first-year Comet program.
"I explained to the team going in that this (Western Iowa Tech) is a program that's brand-new to the ICCAC, so you have to show them what it's like to be here," Hussak said. "It's not easy. This conference is a grind. You've got a lot of teams that play good soccer, so you have to introduce them and show them this is what it takes to be here.
"Credit to them. Western Iowa Tech had a game plan and they wanted to stick to it. I talked to (head coach) Eddie (Vongsiprasom) late in the match and kept encouraging him. They're playing the right way and doing the right things. They're going to be a team we're going to have to be careful with in a couple years."
Indian Hills will be back in action at home on Sunday, hosting Wabash Valley at noon.
— Scott Jackson can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter@CourierScott.