The last three weeks have seen the Iowa Western women’s soccer team turn its season in a positive direction.
After an 0-1-2 start, the 14th-ranked Reivers entered Friday’s match against No. 9 Navarro red hot as winners of four straight matches, outscoring their opponents by a combined 31-0 in those victories.
But Friday, IWCC earned its biggest win of the season in a 2-1 triumph of Navarro. The game was played at Titan Stadium on the Lewis Central High School campus because of heavy rain earlier in the day on the IWCC campus.
Kami Djahanbani’s goal in the 13th minute gave the Reivers a 1-0 advantage, and Eva Castano scored what proved to be a game winner with just 3:53 remaining in the match. That score was vital as Navarro’s Victoria Swift fired a successful free kick in the 90th minute.
IWCC coach Adam Sanchez said a win over a top-10 opponent was another big step in the right direction for his squad.
“This was a big, big game for us,” Sanchez said. “They’re a good opponent, and we had to get a result. This could serve as a turning point in our season, and they girls knew that. They prepared for it, and they came out and played a really good game. That’s what we needed. We needed that confidence builder to say we could get a win against a good team.”
The Reivers played sound soccer on a windy day. Djahanbani got loose in the first half and fired a successful shot that caromed off the right post to put the Reivers in front.
Castano enhanced the lead when she broke free from two Navarro defenders and lofted a left-footed shot into the wind that sailed over the Navarro keeper and bounced off the top post before settling in the back of the net.
“She was dangerous all game long,” Sanchez said. “It was fantastic finish, and she worked hard all game long. I think she earned it. She definitely deserved it.”
About the only bad takeaway from Friday’s performance was that IWCC saw a four-match shutout streak come to an end after Swift’s goal.
Sanchez was more pleased that the close losses and draws that the Reivers endured at the start of the season are beginning to turn into wins.
“It’s all about coming together as a team,” Sanchez said. “Credit the girls because they’re solving problems more on the field, and that’s what soccer is all about: being able to work better together, and collectively, we’re better. We’re still a ways away, but we’re making progress.
“It wasn’t the prettiest of games, but this is something we can definitely build on, and that’s the biggest takeaway from the day.”
Navarro (5-2) ................................................... 0 1—1
Iowa Western (5-1-2) ..................................... 1 1—2
Goals: N, Victoria Swift. IW, Kami Djahanbani, Eva Castano.