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Iowa Western upends Navarro 3-1 to claim DI women's soccer championship
 November 23, 2013


Release courtesy of Mark DeCotis, Eastern Fla. State Sports Information Director

The third time was indeed the charm for Iowa Western' women's soccer team.

Iowa Western took a 2-0 first half lead, conceded a second-half goal but then got the big score it needed to defeat Navarro (Texas) 3-1 on Saturday night to win the NJCAA Women's Division I Soccer Championship.

The victory on Eastern Florida State College's Melbourne Campus followed 2006 and 2007 runner-up finishes for Iowa Western and gave the Reivers their first national title.

Iowa Western finished its season at 19-2-1 and capped a run that almost wasn't after the Reivers trailed Iowa Central for nearly all their district title game before pulling out a last-minute victory that advanced it to the national tournament.

It was after that game Reivers head coach Brad Silvey realized he had a potential championship team.

"After we made it through pre-season I think we had a good inkling that we had a special group in front of us," Silvey said.

"The moment that it really came into fruition was our (district) final (against Iowa Central), down a goal with one minute, 13 seconds left in the contest and we come back and win the game 2-1 in regulation.

"That was the moment where we looked out and we were like as a coaching staff 'this is going to be the year.'"

Iowa Western got the first goal courtesy of freshman Celia Jimenez who beat freshman goalkeeper Kenia Medina off a deflection. The goal went to the lower right corner just 8 minutes and 23 seconds into the game.

The assist went to sophomore Kasandra Anderson.

Fifteen minutes and 5 seconds later – with 21:32 to play in the first half - freshman Brianne Richards struck home her own rebound off the post to beat Medina to the right side for a 2-0 lead.

Iowa Western had the better of play but Navarro took advantage of its deep bench by substituting regularly getting fresh legs into the game.

It began to pay off as Navarro began to assert itself offensively, pressing into the Iowa Western end.

But Western Iowa used its bench as well and its backline continued to hold off Navarro.

The half ended with Iowa Western leading 2-0.

But just 4 minutes and 25 seconds into the second half Navarro's leading scorer freshman Trudi Carter split two defenders to beat freshman Iowa Western goalkeeper Kelsey East to her right side and it was 2-1.

Freshman Shanise Foster got the assist as Navarro pressed the action.

East preserved the lead with 34 minutes to go when she came out to cut off the angle on Foster with a diving foot save.

Twelve minutes later – with 22:08 to play - Iowa Western freshman Nicole Gowans sent a rebound off a corner kick into the upper left-hand corner of the net for a 3-1 lead and the game.

"The third goal was huge," Silvey said. "Nicole Gowans striking it off that rebound on the corner kick was a game changer for us."

For her part Gowans was matter of fact.

"I gave a corner and it came back out to me," she said. "I was debating whether to cross or shoot I looked right at the goal and I just put it away.

"It didn't seem real though when it happened. I don't think it's hit me yet honestly. I think by tonight it will finally set in and it will feel real."

It was real when the number three went up on the board rocketing the Reivers to the championship.

Iowa Western opened the tournament by defeating No. 12 seed College of Lake County (Ill.) 5-0. It followed up with a 1-0 defeat of No. 8 seed Monroe College (N.Y.) and then beat Laramie County (Wyo.) 4-3 on penalty kicks after a 0-0 double overtime semifinals draw.

The appearance in the national tournament was Navarro's sixth in the last 10 years and its first since 2008. The Bulldogs finished the season 17-4-1.

Navarro assistant coach Aric Bonner was gracious in defeat.

"Iowa Western played well," he said. "We just didn't bring it tonight. Better team won."

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