Boys Soccer: Schmitz Leads Regina Past IMS
By Sam Louwagie (Story) and Josh Christensen (Video), Reporters
IOWA CITY, Iowa Last year's third-place state finish still stings Iowa City Regina seniors. The target couldn't be any clearer: a fourth state title in five years or bust.
The top-ranked Regals breezed past Iowa Mennonite, 5-1, Saturday in a Class 1A substate final to advance to the state tournament for a sixth consecutive season.
Regina's Aaron Schmitz scored two goals and had one assist. The senior's motivation comes from last season's semifinal shootout loss to Columbus Catholic.
"We thought last year was a failure, so we came back and wanted to win it so bad this year," Schmitz said. "We worked in the off-season so hard.Anything but a championship is a loss for us."
The Regals have been locked in since that heartbreaking loss. Coach Rick Larew recalled one 108-degree day last summer when he stopped by the field expecting to take the few players practicing out for ice cream. He found 20 kids scrimmaging.
"Within an hour of that (semifinal) defeat they were talking about getting ready for this year," Larew said. "They have worked incredibly hard and we have great senior leadership."
Regina's scoring run started after Iowa Mennonite fired a 35-yard warning shot that ricocheted hard off the crossbar in the 26th minute.
"That was a wake-up call for our team," Schmitz said.
Right after the near-goal, Schmitz navigated the right side of the field and used a soft touch to carefully push the ball inside the far lower post for a 1-0 lead.
Two minutes later, Schmitz centered a nice ball and A.J. Adam's header netted Regina's second goal. Schmitz fired a strong shot from outside the penalty box at the very end of the half for the team's third goal.
"We keep the pressure and just keep firing, just keep firing," Larew said. "We're not a very complicated team. We go wide when we can and we try to keep the ball on the ground on our shots."