OTTUMWA — From walk-off home runs to buzzer-beating jumpers, game winning plays are almost always followed by a massive celebration.
Emily Murphy’s first reaction to her game-winning golden goal Saturday in double overtime against Iowa Central wasn’t so much one of celebration. More like a look of relief as No. 15 Indian Hills avoided suffering a second straight regional loss, or even a second regional tie, with Murphy’s second goal of the match and 27th of her sophomore season.
“It was a look that kind of feeling like it was about time,” Murphy said. “We had this match under control most of the way. We dominated the first half. We didn’t stay on the gas and we let (Iowa Central) get an easy goal.
“That’s what made it difficult. It should have been over in regulation and we gave them a little life to take us into overtime.”
Indian Hills (12-1-1, 4-1-1 ICCAC) owned an 18-8 edge in shots, including 10 of the 12 shots taken between the two teams in the first half. The Warriors created several quality scoring chances early against the Tritons, but could not break through until Murphy found the back of the net for the first time in the 19th minute.
“There was no doubt from the start that we were the better team. We had five of six point-blank looks at the goal in the early minutes,” Indian Hills head women’s soccer coach Anthony Longo said. “Miranda (Kurtt) had a chance five minutes in. Julia (Golliart) had a chance five minutes in. Georgia (Lindon) missed a couple of shots inside the six (foot box). It could have been a 5-0 game at halftime and Iowa Central doesn’t even bother to come out for the second half.
“Iowa Central’s a tough team to be sure, but we made life very difficult on ourselves.”
The win helped IHCC bounce back from a tough 3-1 regional road loss on Wednesday at Iowa Western, the only loss suffered by the Warriors so far 14 matches into the season. The win also allowes Indian Hills to take control of clinching at least second place in the Iowa Community College Athletic Conference standings, which would give IHCC home field advantage in postseason play at least up to the regional final providing Iowa Western also qualified for that match.
Maria Crimmins tied the score in the 71st minute for the Tritons (8-4, 4-2 ICCAC) and nearly won the match on the final play of regulation. With time ticking down in the second half, Iowa Central received a corner kick that resulted in a header that IHCC goal keeper Elani Mears had to grab in order to prevent Iowa Central from their own game-winning celebration.
“It’s always important to make those saves, but it takes the whole team to win a match like this,” Mears said. “It’s definitely intense in those closing minutes. You have to believe in yourself and you have to believe in your teammates. We’ve put in all the hours in practice every day to prepare for these moments.”
Indian Hills hosts Hawkeye on Wednesday.