Hoover slips through Cats’ grasp

After a controlling first half effort from her team came up empty on the scoreboard, Marshalltown girls soccer coach Allie Osmundson warned her squad that Tuesday’s match would be decided by the little things.

Unfortunately for the Bobcats, their coach was right.

A small window of opportunity was all Hoover needed to turn one of the Bobcats’ better efforts of the year into “the toughest loss of the season” as the Huskies escaped with a 1-0 victory in Central Iowa Metro League play at Leonard Cole Field.

Hoover’s Kaitlyn Mahany got past the Bobcat defense and corralled a deep through ball along the right side before snapping a shot to the far post for the game’s lone score in a match largely controlled by the home team. The 69th minute goal led the Huskies (8-7) to their fourth straight shutout win.

“We dominated the game,” MHS coach Allie Osmundson said.

“I told them at halftime it was going to come down to the little things and unfortunately it did. We weren’t able to clear the ball and they capitalized.”

Holding a major advantage over the Huskies in total shots (37-7), shots on goal (14-6) and corner kicks (8-2), Marshalltown seemed on track for a second straight win, though they had no answer for Hoover’s last line of defense. Huskies’ goalkeeper Savana Robinson turned back 14 shots including a penalty kick by Molly Major in the 64th minute. Robinson got a hand on the shot, which deflected off the crossbar and bounced back to Major, though her second try sailed over the goal.

It was that kind of night for the Bobcats (9-6) who spent much of the match with the ball deep in the teeth of Hoover’s defense, testing the patience of Robinson who frequently inquired her teammates for a little more help.

She never needed it.

Several of Marshalltown’s shots on goal came straight to the senior netminder, while she also had an answer for the others.

“(Robinson) had a really good game,” Osmundson said. “A lot of our shots did go to her, but she was able to get to the shots that went off to the side. (Robinson) was the best player on their team by far.”

Though Marshalltown’s dominant play against the rest of Hoover’s roster had Osmundson thinking her squad would snap the visitors’ three-game win streak.

“We were possessing the ball, moving the ball quick and getting chances – we just weren’t able to capitalize,” Osmundson said.

“I’m proud of the team but I just wish we could have capitalized and scored a goal. This is probably the toughest loss of the season for us because we played so well and we weren’t able to finish.”

Hoover made the most of its scarce scoring opportunities putting six of seven shots on goal before Mahany’s 11th goal of the year provided the difference. Amanda Hughes made five stops for Marshalltown.

The Bobcats wrap up the regular season against Class 3A No. 9 ranked Ames Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Notebook

One of Hoover’s assistant coaches was issued a yellow card at halftime for arguing a call. … Huskies head coach Jon Rubino was given a warning later in the second half. … All eight of Hoover’s victories this season have resulted in shutouts. … Marshalltown’s Morgan Gardalen appeared to get hit by a Hoover player early in the second half and went down to the ground before leaving the game. She returned later in the half and was tackled deep in the penalty area, which set up Major’s penalty kick. Marshalltown faces Waterloo East in Class 3A Region 1 play May 29 at 6 p.m. in Cedar Falls.