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Iowa Western Pressure Pays Off in 1-0 Victory Over Monroe; Semifinals Next

Nov. 20, 2013 - Monroe College didn't play the game Iowa Western Community College head coach Brad Silvey expected on Wednesday but in the end the top seed in the NJCAA Women's Division I Soccer National Championship Tournament got the result it needed.

monroe vs. iowa
Iowa Western's number 4 Nicole Gowans and number 99 Ana Rodrigues from Monroe College battle for the ball in the match that would send Iowa to the semifinals and send Monroe home.

After pounding Monroe's packed-in defense for 84 minutes and 47 seconds Iowa Western freshman midfielder Nicole Gowans chipped in a shot over Monroe goalkeeper Devyn Bryar and lifted the Reivers into Friday's national semifinals with a 1-0 victory.

Gowans' goal with 5:13 to play improved Iowa Western's record to 19-2 and drew Silvey even in victories at 88 with the Reivers program founder and his predecessor Ammon Bennett.

Monroe finished its season at 12-2.

"I was sitting on the bench and my coach told me 'Nicole go in and make a difference' and so I stepped on the field and luckily my teammates are awesome and we play well as a team," Gowans said.

"Bri (Brianne Richards) got the ball up top and she dropped it back to me and I just touched it and I had my vision on the goal and I shot it and luckily it dropped. I wouldn't been able to do it without my team though."

Gowans admitted Monroe's packed-in defense was frustrating.

"We came off at halftime and we were like 'we are going to keep doing what we're doing and I promise it will pay off,' that's what our coach said, and luckily it paid off."

Silvey, whose team was eliminated in the semifinals by eventual national champion Paradise Valley Community College on penalty kicks on last season, admitted to being surprised by Monroe's defense.

"I thought they would play straight up but they packed it in," Silvey said. "They did an excellent job. They were stingy, they were pesky defensively.

"Our conversation with the girls was 'stay committed, we've broken them down a few times, one's going to fall in, keep believing."

And they did.

Iowa Western had 22 shots, 10 on goal to none for Monroe. The Reivers pressed Monroe throughout the first half, repeatedly testing the defense and sophomore Bryar but they stood firm and it was 0-0 at halftime.

With 20:34 to be played Monroe sophomore defender Taylor O'Leary thwarted Iowa Western's best chance to that point by clearing the ball just about as it was to get into the net.

Then, the rain came, didn't slow Iowa Western's charges but couldn't help the Reivers dent the Mustangs packed-in defense or their net until Gowans struck gold.

Iowa Western will play the lowest remaining seeded team in Friday's first semifinal at 5 p.m. at Eastern Florida State College's Melbourne Campus.