OTTUMWA – It wasn’t that long ago that Emily Murphy was wearing the uniform of the Southeast Soccer Academy.
On Saturday, Murphy shined on the pitch once again in the maroon and gold of the Indian Hills Warriors. With several current Southeast Soccer Academy youth players on hand, Murphy recorded a hat trick in the second half alone sparking a five-goal surge that lifted IHCC to a 7-3 win, setting a program record by winning six straight games to open a season.
“There were a few of us on the team that knew that 6-0 was the record start, but we didn’t want to mention it to the younger girls,” Murphy said. “We got to 5-0 last year and put a lot of pressure on ourselves to get that sixth straight win. We wanted to turn into a nice surprise for all of us.”
Afterwards, Murphy took the time to sign autographs from the players that are part of the youth program she got her start in soccer at. Anthony Longo, head coach of current IHCC women’s soccer squad that features Southeast Soccer Academy grads Murphy and starting goal keeper Elani Mears, wouldn’t mind seeing a few more players from the Burlington squad some day wearing Indian Hills soccer uniforms.
“That’s going be a area we’re going to continue to hit very hard in recruiting,” Longo said. “We’ll definitely keep that connection open. It wouldn’t break my heart to have a few more Emily Murphys running around out there for us.”
Murphy, who now has a team-leading nine goals this season and 46 goals in her spectacular two-year IHCC soccer career, broke a streak of 216 minutes without a goal on Saturday. The Warriors top goal scorer was held scoreless in the second half of last weekend’s 2-0 win over Otero Junior College, all 90 minutes of a 2-0 road win at Southeastern on Wednesday and the first half of Saturday’s match by Heartland.
The good news for the Warriors is that, in those 216 minutes without a Murphy goal, IHCC outscored its three opponents 8-2. The Warriors built a 2-0 halftime lead for the third straight match thanks to Yui Okamoto, who scored on a long strike in the 16th minute to double a lead established in the seventh minute on the first career collegiate goal for Warrior freshman Avery Woldruff.
“Kiri (Chiba) set me up with a beautiful corner kick. It felt so good to actually score,” Woldruff said after heading in her first goal at Indian Hills. “I didn’t even know the ball went in. When people started yelling, I realized it was in the back of the net.”
Unlike IHCC’s previous 2-0 halftime lead, the score would not hold up as the eventual final. Kayla James scored goals in both the 53rd and 68th minutes, helping Heartland (4-1) stay within striking distance as the Hawks twice got as close as one goal in the second half.
Each time, however, the Warriors (6-0) responded. Julie Gouilliart’s goal in the 56th minute helped keep IHCC on top before Murphy took over, finding the back of the net in the 60th, 62nd and 83rd minutes.
“We’re disappointed we didn’t get the shutout, but we kept playing hard after every goal,” Murphy said. “We definitely clean some things up, but I give a lot of credit to my teammates. They’re the ones that were scoring early. They continue to prove it’s not just one player on this team that can score. The whole team can score.”
Indian Hills (6-0) will return to action at home to host Scott Community College at 1 p.m.