The Class 2-A No. 7 Lewis Central girls dominated Glenwood through the first 50 minutes of their Class 2-A, Region 2 soccer semifinal Tuesday night at Titan Stadium, but had just a 2-1 lead.
But three unanswered goals down the stretch, including two scores by Jayden Cross that secured a hat trick, gave the three-time defending state champions a 5-1 win and a spot in Monday’s regional final.
L.C. will play the winner of Wednesday’s Winterset-Carlisle game at 6 p.m. Monday at Lewis Central.
Johnna Miller added a goal and an assist, and Mikayla McCart had a late goal on a penalty kick for L.C. Maiah Williams had the lone score for the Rams.
The Titans began the game with a 14 mph wind at their backs, and they were able to quickly take advantage, going up 2-0 in under 12 minutes.
Lewis Central coach Chris Von Mende said the fast start was just what his team was looking for.
“That’s part of what we wanted to do. We had the wind at our backs, so we tried to really put a lot of pressure against the other team, and it helped score the first goal and second one just by them not being able to possess and get out,” Von Mende said.
The Titans, who improved to 13-4, outshot Glenwood (7-10) 39-4 in the match.
Miller gave the Titans a 1-0 lead in the sixth minute with her seventh goal of the season.
Cross made it 2-0 when she buried her team-leading 18th goal of the year with a tap-in off a crossing pass from Miller in the 11th minute.
Miller said the early barrage put Glenwood on its heels.
“When we get going right away, it’s a good booster. When we get a goal that early in the game right away, the other team is like ‘Oh, my God,’ and they’re not ready for it,” she said.
The Titans led 2-0 at halftime after outshooting the Rams 22-1.
Glenwood keeper Kendall Bardsley kept the Rams in the game with eight saves in the half. She finished with 19.
Glenwood coach Amy Benson said early mistakes hurt, but her team was able to settle down.
“Really, take away the first 15 minutes, and then it was 0-0 for the rest of the half. So going in 2-0 at halftime is not bad,” Benson said.
Glenwood converted in the 50th minute, and it came after a long free kick from Abi Schultz after a Titan foul.
She booted the ball from 40 yards out into a crowd in front of Lewis Central keeper Hannah Lucy.
Williams was able to gain control and knock it in for her sixth goal of the season as Glenwood cut its deficit to 2-1.
Von Mende said the Titans will need to work on playing smarter to win another state title.
“I thought the second half we were loosey-goosey and didn’t follow the plan of getting back to defend. We started taking dumb fouls. Those are the things that can hurt a team,” he said.
Glenwood (7-10) 0 1—1
Lewis Central (13-4) 2 3—5
Goals: G: Maiah Williams. LC: Johnna Miller, Jayden Cross 3, Mikayla McCart. Shots: G, 4. LC, 39. Shots on goal: G, 3. LC, 26. Saves: G, Kendall Bardsley 19, TM 2. LC, Hannah Lucy 1.