Urbandale denies MHS girls soccer in home finale

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE - Marshalltown sophomore Madison Schumacker (16) tries to find a way past Urbandale’s Hannah Eckhoff (3) and Emma Johansen during Monday’s match at Leonard Cole Field.

The Marshalltown girls soccer team got off on the wrong foot, both literally and figuratively.

Urbandale scored what would prove to be the game-winning goal on the first shot of the match, and the J-Hawks eventually walked off with a 4-0 victory over the Bobcats on Monday night at Leonard Cole Field.

Having suffered a recent ankle sprain, MHS junior defender and co-captain Aida Almanza made her way onto the soggy surface with her ankle wrapped and in a brace in hopes of preventing further injury. The safeguards provided the necessary protection, but it also hindered Almanza’s ability to do her job.

One minute into the match, Almanza fell to the turf as Urbandale sophomore Gracie Marks broke free behind the Bobcat defense to score her first of three consecutive goals, and the J-Hawks took advantage again seven minutes later.

Almanza took another tumble inside the goal area as Emma Acela fired a high shot that MHS junior goalkeeper Avygail Smith deflected just over the top of the crossbar. On the resultant corner kick, a pass into the box by Marks instead bounced off the back of Almanza’s leg and into the back of the net for a 2-0 Urbandale lead.

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE - Marshalltown junior Marilyn Gonzalez (18) tries to control a pass while being pressured by Urbandale’s Isabel Doria (10) during the first half of Monday’s match at Leonard Cole Field.

Almanza finally got the substitute she had been asking for because she had lost feeling in her foot as a result of the ankle brace, but the damage had already been done.

“When she’s asking for a sub that early, you know something’s wrong,” said MHS head coach Leigh Hornbuckle.

It was an unfortunate start for a Bobcat defense hoping to build off its 2-0 loss to Class 3A No. 1 Waukee just 10 days earlier. But when Urbandale (6-10) matched Marshalltown’s season goals total just 8 minutes, 22 seconds into the contest, it meant trouble for the Bobcats (1-12).

MHS finished with four shots on goal, though none were a serious challenge to J-Hawk netminder Rachel Vander Hart or her replacement Rebecca Krugler. Itzel Hueso gave Urbandale reason for pause in the fifth minute when she stole the ball from defender Isabel Doria, but Vander Hart was there to pick up the loose ball at the edge of the box.

Marshalltown limped into intermission facing a two-goal deficit after losing two players to injury during the first half, as Yatnia Hernandez was wobbled when a kicked ball appeared to catch her in the nose, and Emma Lizarde came off with a lower-body injury as well. Both played in the second half.

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE

“I think the girls are just tired,” Hornbuckle said. “They give us their all, but we’re 1-12 even though that doesn’t show how much they’ve improved.”

Hornbuckle pointed to seniors Paw Poe Gay and Isabel Ramirez and junior reserve Marilyn Gonzalez as players to provided extra fight on a long night on the pitch — Marshalltown’s final home game.

“They all stepped up tonight,” Hornbuckle added. “I like how some of the girls who were quiet at the beginning of the year have started speaking up. It’s a little late in the year, but they’re finally wanting the opportunity.”

Urbandale took advantage of its opportunities, too, as Marks made it a natural hat trick with her third consecutive goal to open the scoring in the second half. Safia Chaudhry, who assisted on the first of Marks’ goals, picked the pocket of a Bobcat defender and got a shot past Smith to finish off the 4-0 victory for the J-Hawks.

Marshalltown, which mustered just four shots on goal, was unable to connect a pass in the offensive half of the field during the second half. Not even the throw-ins were going the Bobcats’ way.

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE

“It’s not quite what we wanted, but Urbandale has a good team,” Hornbuckle said. “I think they’ve played one of the toughest schedules in the state.”

Hornbuckle started every senior on his roster “to pay respect to them” on Senior Night, as nine Bobcat players and their parents were honored prior to the match.

Next up for MHS is a road game tonight against 10th-ranked Johnston, and the Dragons entertain Marshalltown in their regional opener May 29 as well.

Urbandale 4, Marshalltown 0

At Marshalltown

URB 2 2 — 4

MHS 0 0 — 0

First Half

URB — Gracie Marks (Safia Chaudhry), 1:11.

URB — Marks, 8:22.

Second Half

URB — Marks, 45:03.

URB — Chaudhry, 47:34.

Goalkeepers — URB: Rachel Vander Hart (3 shots on goal-3 saves), Rebecca Krugler (1-1); MHS: Avygail Smith (17-13).

Shots on goal — URB 17, MHS 4.

Corner Kicks — URB 8.

Fouls — URB 6, MHS 9.

Yellow Cards — Madison Schumacker, MHS, 58:54.