Saturday, September 9th marked the beginning of the journey to the Region XI title in arguably the best soccer conference in the NJCAA. This season, however, has a slighlty different path to the end. In the past years, teams would play a double round-robin. With the formal addition of Dakota County (Minn.) as an affiliate ICCAC member in both men's and women's soccer in addition to the widespread desire to reduce the number of conference games in lieu of more opportunities for non-conference matches, this year's conference schedule consists of a single-round robin totaling nine men's games and eight women's games per team this season.
The postseason will also have a different appearance, where only six teams qualify for the postseason. After the final regular season conference matches on October 21st, the top six teams in both men's and women's soccer qualify for the Region XI Tournament based off points in the conference standings [three points for a win, one for a tie]. This format makes every game, regardless of who is playing and their current standing incredibly vital.
Men's Soccer Recaps
#9 Iowa Western 5-2 Iowa Central
Preseason favorite Iowa Western did not start their opening game on the best terms, but it's how they finished that showed the skill of the Reivers. Iowa Western did open up the scoring in the 15th minute. Dadwin Hernandez intercepted an errant Iowa Central pass in the Triton defensive third, a quick knockdown to teammate Joao Burto who floated a ball from the top of the box over the Iowa Central goalkeeper's head to open the scoring.
The Tritons would respond seven minutes later. Luah Kahnplaye beat the Iowa Western goalkeeper on a clearance, deflecting the ball into the goal for the equalizer. The second goal was even more unlikely, Rafael de Aquino won a ball near midfield. A short pass to Kahnplaye was flicked back to Aquino who rocketed a ball from just short of midfield-- perfectly placed over the keeper and to the side netting for the second goal.
The Tritons took the 2-1 halftime advantage. However, the Reivers used a 15-minute span in the second half to take a commanding lead. In the 60th minute, Kwesi Allen opened up the charge-- assisted by Alberto Diaz off a great ball up the middle. Allen beat the last man back to convert the score.
Alberto Diaz would get his turn four minutes later. Leandro Avila's corner kick fell through the defense to Diaz. A side step around a defender allowed Diaz to slot it away to regain the lead for the Reivers in the 64th minute.
Two insurance goals came back-to-back in the 73rd and 75th minute for Iowa Western. Dadwin Hernandez got his second assist with a brilliant ball over the back line. Mason Farnsworth had already began his run into the box. Farnsworth crashed the ball with a powerful header to get the Reivers' fourth of the game. Kwesi Allen added his second with an Alberto Diaz assist in the 75th minute on a quick counter attack. Diaz won the ball near his own defensive-third, a low through ball with pace gave Kwesi Allen a chance to challenge the keeper one-on-one. Allen converted the goal to complete the game's scoring.
Iowa Western moved to 2-0-1 on the young season with a pair of impressive victories over Iowa Central and then-ranked #18 Laramie County (Wyo.). The draw came in a match vs. #16 Salt Lake.
Iowa Central dropped just its first game of the season. The Tritons recovered quickly the next day, defeating Lake Superior College 4-0 to move to 6-1 on the year.
#5 Indian Hills 12-0 Hawkeye
In what marked the most shocking score line of the weekend, newly-ranked Indian Hills took care of business of a good Hawkeye side. The Warriors, ranked for the first time in program history (and No. 5 at that), dropped their first game of the season on Wednesday to unranked Jefferson (Mo.). The Warriors avenged any demons in their first conference match of the season.
Nathaniel Mederos opened up scoring early, in the 6th minute off an assist by Reshon Phillip originating off the right wing.
It would take nearly 25 more minutes for the second goal to come. Reigning NJCAA Player of the Week Akean Shackleford got in on the scoring in the 29th minute, assisted by Theodoro Barros di Piero. Akean Schakleford would score two more (39' and 49') to lead all-scorers with the three. Di Piero also scored a hat-trick for the Warriors. Reshon Phillip, Wilson Barahona, Oliver Hunt, Aidan Young, and Mattheus Alburquerque competed the Warriors' scoring.
Phillip led the team with two assists. Kondjo Zebina, Christopher Thorpe, Rodrigo Paspcual, and Lucas Nappi all tallied an assist on the day as did Di Piero, Barahona, and Alburquerque.
The Warriors big win gives them a little bit of wiggle room with goal differential, if it would come to that. Indian Hills improved its record to 5-1. Hawkeye dropped its first game of the season to move to 3-1. The RedTails have non-conference wins over Waubonsee, Heartland, and Dakota County with the latter being a game not reflected in the conference standings.
#13 Marshalltown 2-1 NIACC
Marshalltown opened their ICCAC slate by holding off a late NIACC push. Marshalltown took a 1-0 lead into the halftime break. A NIACC defender was shown a second yellow in the second half and the team would be short-handed for the remainder of the game. The Trojans' Jack Doyle scored a short-range goal (assisted by Tom Cobham) with twenty minutes to play to make it interesting down the stretch.
The Tigers prevailed behind goals from Rafael Vacas and Eneko Lasheras. Agustin Pertusso assisted on Lasheras' goal via a corner kick. The three points were a must for the Tigers opening up the season.
Marshalltown improved to 3-0 overall, joining Iowa Western as the lone unbeatens overall this season. NIACC dropped its first game of the season, but recovered with a non-conference win on Sunday to move to 3-1 overall.
Northeast 3-2 Iowa Lakes
Northeast pulled off one of the more suprising results this weekend, with an away win at Iowa Lakes despite being outshot 21-6.
The Lakers were on the board first, via a Rian Marques PK conversion. Minutes later, Northeast's Tiago Cunha Da Costa equalized with an Andrew Marsh assist sending the game into halftime tied. Anthony Kosch gave the Hawks their first lead of the game early in the second half, assisted by Cale Frahm. The Lakers answered shortly after with a goal scored by Levi Heholt.
Sebastian Besores would hit the game winner for the Hawks late off a breakaway. Along with several clutch saves from Hawks' goalkeeper Massimiliano Simonazzi, Northeast earned a very important three points early in the conference schedule.
"Today, we were just not good enough," noted Laker head coach Ben MacRae. "Although we had 21 shots on goal to their 6, you have to put your chances away in this league."
It was also the Hawks' first win of the season, improving their record to 1-4 overall. "The boys played a great game," said Northeast head coach Chad Miller. "They were patient and used space very well, so they found themselves in great positions to create opportunities. We took advantage of those and were able to get the win." This was Miller's first game as head coach of the men's, filling a midseason vacancy. Miller now currently serves as both the men's and women's head coach.
Iowa Lakes fell to 3-3 overall.
Scott 2-2 Dakota County (2OT)
Scott came just minutes from ending its 25-game winless streak to ICCAC opponents. However, the Eagles didn't walk way empty handed. This match featured the teams picked to finish 9th and 10th in the league standings, meaning that any points earned from this match would possibly be critical at the end of the year.
ICCAC newcomer, Dakota County opened up the match's scoring. ICCAC Preseason Player to Watch Hamza Abdujalil scored the first of two goals in the 23rd minute. The game would remain on the 1-0 scoreline into the half.
15 minutes into the second half, Scott's Mama Antario scored for the Eagles to even the game at one-all.
Antario scored what appeared to be a possible game-winner in the 86th minute off a Chase Bollman assist to give the Eagles the lead. But Dakota County's Abdujalil salvaged a point for the Blue Knights with an 89th minute equalizer to see the game out to a 2-2 draw.
Scott, much improved from last season has greatly benefited from playing games outside the gauntlet of the ICCAC. A 3-1 start to the season, with wins over Illinois Valley, Richard Daley, and Carl Sandburg highlight the progress the Eagles have made in addition to the conference point earned Saturday. Scott sits a 3-2-1 overall heading into the week.
Dakota County moves also 3-2-1 on the season.
Women's Soccer Recaps
#6 Iowa Western 3-2 Iowa Central (OT)
Iowa Western got on the right track after an unfortunate start to the season. Against stiff competition to start their campaign, the Reivers dropped their opening five matches while only scoring two goals
Iowa Western found themselves staring down a possible 0-6 start to the season in overtime against traditionally great Iowa Central, just two years removed from a national title. The Reivers exceeded their goal total from the prior five matches and found a game-winner from Ashley Overberg off a a low cross sent in front of goal by Alex Boss in the 96th minute to earn a crucial three points, but more importantly a confidence restoration.
Two early goals started off the match. Iowa Western's Alex Boss scored off a redirected Laura Chavez corner by teammate Anyeli Solarte. Iowa Central's Bruna Moureira answered quickly for the Tritons, with an assist from Alicia Lovan.
Iowa Western took the lead in the 48th minute with a goal from Alex Boss off a through ball from Laura Chavez. The Tritons' again had an answer, this time from Morgan Carew with an assist from Nara Da Costa.
Overberg's 96th minute sudden-death goal earned the three points for the Reivers. While it's likely Iowa Western won't be ranked in the first regular season rankings, due out Tuesday 9/12, the Reivers at least have now positioned themselves with an early three points over a quality opponent in conference play.
The Tritons fell to 3-2-1 overall on the season.
RV Indian Hills 5-2 Hawkeye
Indian Hills continued their undefeated season with a convincing 5-2 win over Hawkeye.
The game remained scoreless for the better part of 40 minutes. Laura Hallissey opened up the game with her 39th minute score, assisted by Charlyann Pizzarello. Laura Hallissey would hit another just out of halftime, this time assisted by Taylor Hiatt. After an earlier assist, Pizzarello added a goal of her own, assisted by Eda Demiralay.
Brandi Menephee scored the last two goals for the Warriors in back-to-back minutes (61' and 62'). The latter was assisted by Carmen Kager.
Hawkeye produced two goals of their own in the closing minutes of play. Brittany Honkomp and Kersten Molina earned back goal differential for the RedTails.
Indian Hills improved to 3-0-1 overall. Hawkeye fell to 3-2 overall, and will be looking for their first official conference win against Scott next weekend. The RedTails do hold wins over Iowa Central and Dakota County on the season, but both are considered non-conference games.
Northeast 2-0 Iowa Lakes
After so many close games in 2016, Northeast was on the right side of a quality conference match in their first of the season. The Hawks traveled to Iowa Lakes, always a very formidable opponent.
Twenty minutes in, Northeast star Erika Kumm opened up the scoring for the Hawks with an unassisted goal. While the Hawks outshot the Lakers 13-6, Iowa Lakes forwards Madeleine Duncan and Tessa Calabria came dangerously close to equalizing several times, while the Hawks missed several of their chances as well.
"[Iowa] Lakes has some great playmakers who created chances for them," said Northeast head coach Chad Miller. "Our defense did very well bottling those up. It wasn't until the second goal I felt a little more releaxed. We got the win, and that's what matters."
That second goal for Iowa Lakes came with just two minutes left. Hailey Curry received a ball played in by Ellie Gess for the insurance goal.
The Hawks are off to a 5-1 start in just their second year of the program. With non-conference wins over Barton, Hutchinson, Trinidad State, Northeastern, and Western Nebraska; the Hawks travel to MCC-Blue River before their away match at Dakota County on Saturday. What adds to the Hawks' impressive record is that seven of their first eight games are all on the road.
"I though the game could go either way," remarked Iowa Lakes head coach Blake Viedenkamp. "We had better chances in the second half but we were unlucky not to score. Credit to Northeast though, they were organized and tough to break down." Iowa Lakes falls to 1-3-1 on the season.
Scott 4-1 Dakota County
Scott improved on their impressive start to the season. Region semifinalists a year ago, the Eagles took care of Dakota County in Bettendorf on Saturday.
Scoring was spread out for the Eagles. Team leader Allison Denys had one goal and an assist. Jasmine Huset, Brooke Klemann, and Sam Moreno added goals for Scott and Lily Garcia and Brook Peckenbaugh recorded assists.
Scott moves to 5-1 on the season. They play Lake Michigan College and Joliet this week before traveling to Hawkeye this weekend for another ICCAC match.
Dakota County falls to 3-3 on the young season.