The worst nightmare for an offensively gifted team against a team that packs in its defense is if the latter happens to score first.
When 11th-ranked Clear Creek Amana scored in the first half at Regina, the Regals knew they had one half to figure out a way to score against 10 defenders clogging the middle.
The fourth-ranked Regals adjusted, came out with a much more efficient passing attack and put four balls in the net for a 4-1 victory Monday night at Regina.
“That was not our game in the first half,” Regina junior Katie Wick said. “(Coach Jordan Grimm) had to give us a lecture. We were yelling at each other. We were not playing to feet.”
“We all knew we could do a lot better,” senior Tori Lust said.
Regina improved to 7-0 and Clear Creek Amana fell to 8-2.
The Clippers got a spectacular goal from sophomore Bailey Mooney with 23 minutes, 31 seconds left in the first half. It was the first shot of any kind by a Clipper and the first shot on goal by either team. Mooney was about 35 yards out and struck the ball perfectly as it soared over the keeper and into the net.
“To be fair, that goal was definitely against the run of play in the first half,” CCA coach Matt Harding said. “They were still bossing possession most of the first half, but (we) got a good look in transition and Bailey made it stick, so that was great.”
Unofficially, Regina out-shot Clear Creek Amana 10-1 in the first half, but of those 10 shots, only one was on goal. The shots were off the mark and spacing was an issue. The Regals too often ended up in the middle with no room nor any angles to get passes to players in better positions. Part of the credit goes to the Clipper defense.
“We just knew we had to come out with more intensity,” freshman Jenny Wick said. “In the first half, we were just standing around. We had to make some runs off the ball and find the open space.”
“We can’t just kick it because they were hitting every single one,” Katie Wick said. “None of them were going on frame because they were all just standing in front of the goal. We had to keep moving because everyone was in the middle. Whenever I turned, there was always somebody there.”
The second half was lopsided in just about every way. The Regals out-shot CCA 18-1 and put seven of those 18 shots on goal. Regina had four corner kicks to none for Clear Creek Amana. Those statistics showed the defensive mindset of the Clippers, who rarely pushed up even on the few forays into Regina territory. It also reflected a crisp passing attack that helped the Regals put constant pressure on the Clipper goal.
“We came out with a little bit more of a defensive look to sort of respect some of the attacking ability of some of their players,” Harding said. “We paid the price for that in the second half. They were just teeing off. Kasey (Bortz) made some great saves, but at some point you’re not going to be able to stop all those. “
Eleven minutes into the half, Katie Wick smashed a ball at the goal, but Bortz made a great save. Less than a minute later, Wick scored by sneaking a ball into the right side of the goal near the post to tie the score and open the floodgates.
With 16:22 left in the game, Jenny Wick scored on a pretty shot from the left side of the box to give Regina the lead.
“That’s, like, where I usually shoot during games is right outside the 18,” Jenny said. “So I knew if I had an open shot, just get it on frame.”
Three minutes later, CCA had its only shot on goal on a counter attack by junior Emma Borman, but Regina goalie Megan Fackler was ready despite the lack of business all game.
Lust scored with nine minutes left on a through ball. Lust is money in those situations with only the keeper in front of her. Jenny Wick finished the scoring with a goal from out front up into the right corner of the net.
“I was going to pass it to Katie, but then I didn’t,” Jenny said.