WATERLOO — It is hard to score if a team does not possess the ball for sustained periods of time.
For the Waterloo United, it was a difficult task through much of the first half and it came back to haunt them as they dropped a 2-1 decision to Class 3A’s 10th-ranked Cedar Rapids Prairie in Mississippi Valley Conference girls’ soccer action Tuesday at Memorial Stadium.
It did not help to have temperatures drop below 40 degrees and a steady cold rain coming down, but the fact that Prairie was able to control the ball over the first 50 minutes, and turn their chances into a pair of goals put the United team behind the eight ball.
“Bottom line is we did not have the ball much in the first half,” United coach Chris Worthley said. “That and the fact we didn’t do much on our defensive end to make any plays, just put us behind early. They (Hawks) are not slow and have girls that can go, and we did not adapt tactically to counter that.”
The Prairie Hawks (7-2) struck first with a slow roller that inched it’s way to the net.
Riley Coulter broke free to the middle and picked up a rebound that came off United’s keeper, Isabelle Guyer. Coulter scuffed her attempt, but it was able to slowly find its way to the back of the nylon.
“I got the ball, but was unable to control it and they get the easy goal,” said Guyer. “The ball skips off the artificial turf a lot faster when its wet, and I just had to make changes in my game.
“I still need to focus on the basics and go back to what I know, and just try to make it simple. Honestly if we can start connecting with the ball better and just calm down and play our game we are going to be a tough team to beat.”
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Prairie collected an insurance goal in the 28th minute by Emily Brunscheen, and it turned out to be the game winner. Brunscheen looked to pad the lead even more one minute later, but Guyer was there ready and held her ground.
Waterloo went to the locker room feeling a little better about their chances after turning back nine other Hawks attacks.
The rain began to pick up in strength, and so did the United offense.
Waterloo Forward Anna McNally put together a pair of charges that threatened Prairie keeper Quinn Deahl, but both shots just missed ringing the posts.
With 6:44 remaining in the game Faith Trelka put Waterloo on the board with a long range shot.
Bringing the ball down on the right side, the Hawks defense allowed a small opening and Trelka let loose with a 30 yard-blast that curved back to the left and hit nothing but net.
“I knew time was running out and we needed to make something happen,” said Trelka. “I just took the shot and aimed for the post and it came back in. That gave us some momentum and we picked it up and started attacking more. If we can just start a game that way and play a full 80 minutes we will be hard to stop.”
The United team had two more attacks in the Hawks zone but three shots sailed away from the net leaving them short of tying the game.
“I thought we came out and did a much better job in the second half,” added Worthley. “As a matter of fact we won the second half. We need to come and find that on switch right away.”