MUSCATINE — It was not going to be easy for the Ottumwa girls soccer team on Wednesday.
Facing Muscatine, the eighth-ranked team in Class 3A, was one thing. Doing it with the season on the line for both teams made it even more daunting.
It also didn’t help that the Muskies had already been challenged once this year by an underdog, needing a late goal to beat a five-win Davenport North squad on May 20. There was no lack of focus or any sort of a letdown Wednesday night as eighth-ranked Muscatine scored five goals in the opening nine minutes on the way to an 11-0 victory in the Region 8 semifinals in a match that lasted just one half.
“It was one of those games where we could have been flat. We still would have won [playing flat] — but we weren’t,” Muscatine head coach Bob Estabrook told the Muscatine Journal on Wednesday. “What [we] were trying to get the message across to the kids was start early, start hard, be smart and we did that consistently, really right up to the end no matter who I put in.”
Muscatine (15-3) will carry a 10-match winning streak into a regional final Monday at seventh-ranked Iowa City West. The Women of Troy won 5-0 against Iowa City High on Wednesday night.
Muscatine wasted little time getting on the board, scoring just 15 seconds into the match when Hannah Lingle took a quick pass from Emily Clemens and converted for the first goal of the match. Reyna Melendez scored just a minute later before Clemens scored her second goal a minute after that to put the Muskies up 3-0 within the first four minutes.
Emily Meeker and Abby Estabrook each added goals over the next five minutes. By the end of the match, seven different players scored or had an assist in the Muskies' 11-goal effort.