More than 140 teams wanted the same opportunity the Tigers had Saturday.
Yet very few could still give the Reivers such a stiff test without their best effort.
Trying to find a middle ground between the two, Marshalltown Community College coach Rafael Martinez came away with mixed emotions after top-ranked Iowa Western defeated the Tigers, 1-0, in Iowa Community College Athletic Conference Division I play Saturday.
T-R PHOTO BY TYLER STRAND
Marshalltown Community College freshman John Krause (20) fires a shot against Iowa Western’s Keaton Critchlow (16) and Kaique Fernandes, right, in ICCAC Division I play at home Saturday. Fernandes scored the game’s lone goal in the 14th minute to help the top-ranked Reivers snap MCC’s five-game win streak.
"I expected a little more of us in this situation - more urgency, more intensity something," said Martinez, whose squad is ranked No. 16 in the NSCAA poll. "While it's a negative, it's also a positive in the fact that without (the high urgency and intensity), we still just lost 1-0 with Iowa Western. I know we can do better."
The Reivers (13-0, 7-0), which hold the nation's No. 1 ranking in both the NJCAA and NSCAA polls, scored the game's lone goal in the 14th minute. Kaique Fernandes headed in a corner kick from Rafael Ferreira inside the box at 13:04 as Iowa Western snapped the Tigers' five-match win streak.
Scoring opportunities came few and far between for MCC, which never got a shot on goal as the Reivers' back line kept the Tiger strikers at bay all afternoon. Iowa Western held a sizable advantage in shots (16-5), corner kicks (8-2) and shots on goal (7-0) en route to their 11th straight shutout.
Iowa Western CC 1, Marshalltown CC 0
IWCC - Kaique Fernandes (Rafael Ferreira), 13:04
Shots - MCC 5, IWCC 16
Shots on goal - MCC 0, IWCC 7
Corner kicks - MCC 2, IWCC 8
Fouls - MCC 22, IWCC 15
Offsides - MCC 0, IWCC 2
Yellow cards - MCC: Chester Killen, 43:44; Juan Carillo, 50:13; Celes Vilar, 81:45; IWCC - Fernandes, 34:56; Matthieu Braem, 37:23
MCC (9-3-1, 5-2-0) managed some promising attacks but could never capitalize. Two minutes after the Reivers' goal, Juan Carillo's corner kick brought out Iowa Western goalkeeper Will Lukowski from the net to deflect the ball though Jaime Agujeta's rebound shot sailed wide left. Agjueta's free kick in the 37th also trailed off to the left while John Krause fired a couple shots in the 53rd and 61st minute that each floated just high.
"Iowa Western has a very good goalkeeper but I can't tell after the game because he didn't have to make saves," said Martinez.
"We have to force the goalkeeper to make saves. We had our chances to put it there."
Julian Pena made six saves for MCC all in the second half, while Lukowski didn't have to make a single stop.
Martinez was glad to see his squad hang in the match and keep it a one-goal game, though he also felt an opportunity slipped past his team.
"Not many teams face the undefeated No. 1 team at home," said Martinez.
"And we had a chance today that the rest of the 140-some teams wanted to have - to play against the No. 1 team. I feel we kind of let it go, we let it escape. Hopefully we will have another chance this season and we bring our 'A' game."
MCC got that opportunity last year when they handed the Reivers a 1-0 defeat - Iowa Western's lone loss - in the Region XI final last fall. Iowa Western swept MCC during the regular season.
Martinez will be able to take away more from Saturday's match when he sees how his team responds.
"I'm not satisfied just by losing to the No. 1 team 1-0 and saying, 'Oh, we could have won and we could have had our chances.' We have to continue growing and that's what I see," said Martinez.
"This was a chance for us to continue growing and see what other teams are doing. We see that we can compete with anybody and today was a demonstration. Now we need to step up to those games and bring the best out of each other."
MCC travels to Scott Community College Wednesday for an ICCAC contest at 4 p.m.
Iowa Western has outscored its opponents 58-4 this year. They won the first meeting over MCC 3-0 on Sept. 11 in Council BluffsMCC's Roberto Velazquez has been out the past couple weeks with an ankle injury, while Alex Galvan, Austin See and Andrew Valett are on the mend but saw game action Saturday. Martinez expects Velazquez back before the end of the regular season.