WATERLOO — Playing for the second time in eight days, Waterloo West and Cedar Falls met on the girls’ soccer pitch Wednesday with a lot more on the line than their regular-season meeting.
The result this time was just like the first one as the 15th-ranked Tigers toppled the Wahawks, 2-0, to advance to a Class 3A Region 5 final Saturday against fourth-ranked Ames in Ames.
From the first whistle on, Cedar Falls was in control and got on the board thanks to a steal by Kaitlynn Solberg off a West defender leaving her one-on-one with Wahawk keeper Isabella Guyer. Solberg managed to get it past Guyer and put Cedar Falls ahead just five minutes in.
“We started her off in defense at the start of the season,” said head coach Chris Kowalski of the Tiger senior. “We’ve moved around some people since then and she’s done a nice job of slotting in as a forward.”
The Wahawks were able to keep their rivals silent for twenty minutes until in the 26th minute when Ally Zierke capped off a string of Tiger passes with the second Cedar Falls goal of the match.
“What I liked about her (Zierke) goal tonight was her composure,” said Kowalski of his swift striker. “She’s always going to be a problem because of her speed.”
Following Zierke’s goal the Tigers dominated possession and cruised to a shutout victory in which Tiger keeper Annika Strohm didn’t have to make a save. Cedar Falls (10-8) outshot West (3-14) 14-0 in the contest.
“We need more before we come into next season,” said West head coach Ross Jones of the Wahawks offensive woes. “You don’t have time to teach them those things in ten weeks. Playing in club and throughout the offseason will be a Godsend for us next season.”
The Wahawks should have most of the squad back next spring as the roster bids farewell to only four seniors.
“They played hard and I can’t say anything bad about tonight other than it’s the end of the season,” said Jones.
As for the Tigers’ there is another challenge in front of them as they look for their first state tournament berth since 2005.
“We haven’t played Ames in a few years, but they’re a solid program and we don’t want to get an over inflated sense of self. We need to do what we do,” said Kowalski.