Waterloo United start the season with a win and aim for program history | Soccer

ETHAN PETRIK

The ground at Memorial Stadium hosted the Waterloo United women’s football team for the first time this season after a delay forced the match to be played on Friday instead of Thursday.

As a team, Waterloo United have only two seniors. Head coach Chris Worthley said the most important thing for a young team is to adapt to a more physical brand of football in the warm-up game.

“The challenge is high school football physics,” Worthley said. “Even the girls playing in clubs, it’s different. So adjusting them to what it takes physically and mentally… that’s the biggest challenge. But they’re a good group.”

Waterloo United took on Aplington-Parkersburg in the season opener.

From the opening kick-off, United controlled possession as the Falcons only managed to send the ball across the halfway line three times in the first 10 minutes of action.

In the 13th minute of action, senior Isabell Stoffer scored the first goal of the season as she locked the ball in the box and sent it searing past Aplington-Parkersburg goalkeeper Kaylee Johnson.

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Neither team scored for the remainder of the first half as United continued to dominate possession and lead the competition with four shots on goal against the Falcons’ two.

In the second half, both teams enjoyed success as Waterloo nearly extended their lead in the 54th and 63rd minutes of action. Karis Burch and Stoffer managed to get behind the Falcons, but neither managed to score as Burch was knocked down by a Falcons defender and Stoffer’s shot ricocheted off Johnson and the crossbar.

The Falcons responded to United’s close calls with a 64th-minute equalizer. Falcons midfielder Jenna Lupkes beat Waterloo keeper Makenna Chidester to tie the game at 1-1.

Both teams looked to pick up the pace of play as the game progressed into the final 10 minutes of action. However, Waterloo sophomore Elma Tricic filled the hero role as the sophomore scored the winning goal in the 72nd minute.

Due to the youth, Wortherly said the victory would help boost the confidence of his young team.

“It’s awesome,” Worthley said. “You always want to try to gain confidence at the start of the season…you never make fun of that…They need it to help them go forward.”

Waterloo junior Claire Rankin and sophomore Erica Congdon also mentioned the confidence boost gained from the season-opening win.

“Well, with a whole new girl group, it’s really good for building confidence,” Congdon said. “Especially moving forward, it’s good to have a good start so we can keep working hard”

Rankin said she hopes the win puts the team on a successful trajectory for the season.

“It’s a nice confidence boost and it sets the tone for what we want for the rest of the season,” Rankin said.

As well as building confidence and adapting to the physical game, Worthley said he wants to see his team improve their awareness.

“I don’t know how many times we’ve been offside,” Worthley said. “It has to do with the player on the ball not seeing it early enough and the player off the ball not being aware enough to stay wide.”

For Rankin and Congdon, they have their eyes set on the program’s history with their goals for the season.

“Beat Cedar Falls, qualify for statehood and have fun,” Rankin said.

“We’ve never beaten them in Waterloo women’s soccer history, but that’s about to change,” Congdon added.

Next, Waterloo will face Iowa City Liberty at home on Tuesday, April 5 at 4:15 p.m. The Falcons will also be home for their next game as they host Dike-New Hartford on Tuesday, April 5 at 5:30 p.m.

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