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COLLEGE SOCCER: Reivers beat Bruins for second National Title; Schimmer wins tournament MVP

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The Iowa Western women’s soccer team has won its second national championship in program history. The Reivers beat Salt Lake College 1-0 in the NJCAA Division-I Championship game in Evans, Georgia on Saturday evening.

“It feels great, it’s an awesome feeling,” Reiver coach Adam Sanchez said. “These players played an awesome tournament over these past four games, bought into everything we told them, and just believed we could do this.

“We played very difficult teams, I think we had the toughest path to the final of any team, but they just overcame the challenges and adversity and rose to the top. ”

The Reivers had some early chances with 13 total shots in the first half, but the Bruins held them off, but finally, in the 37th minute, Marta Llopis booted in a penalty kick to put the Reivers on the board.

“The ball was right there in front of the goal, we kept kicking at, but instead we got the penalty shot,” Llopis said. “I just walked up a sent it in and it felt like a lot of weight was lifted when it hit the net.”

Meanwhile, the Reiver defense held the Bruins to just two shots in the first half. Against a team that had had solid offensive success, Sanchez was pleased with how the Reivers shut down the Bruins and limited their chances.

“They didn’t any clean looks on goal and I thought our defense really stepped up,” Sanchez said. “We struggled early this season to get a shut out and now to get it done in the national championship game is a testament to these girls.

“The back line played great, but the front six really worked their butts off to deny any looks to Salt Lake’s front three and made it very hard for anything to get through. Just a really good overall team performance. It wasn’t our pretties match by championship matcher rarely are. As we told the group championships aren’t meant to be played, they’re meant to be won, and they did what it took to win.”

The Bruins came out with a fast start and held the ball on their attacking side of the field for the front half of the second half. However, the Reiver defense still limited the shots on goal to six in the second half with some great defense and superb goalkeeping by Bella Washington, who had five saves, kept the Bruins scoreless, and led to the 1-0 victory.

“It's absolutely amazing being here with my family,” Freshman forward Hannah Schimmer said. “This team really is my family even over the tournament our connection grew and we fight for each other. Overall it's just amazing and we’re crying and we’re so proud of each other, we all made this happen. ”

“We just kept telling each other that we can do this,” Llopis said. “We know that it was going to be hard, but we made it here and now we’ve won the nationals and are bringing home a trophy.”

During the awards ceremony, Hanna Schimmer was named the NJCAA Tournament MVP. Schimmer scored three goals and had an assist through the tournament's four-game stretch.

“The whole team was screaming for me and I’m just so happy right now,” Schimmer said. “It feels good, but this national championship, this took the whole family, and to hold up the trophy together, this is the best.”

After starting the season with one win, three losses, and a tie, the Reivers have now finished the season with 18 consecutive wins.

“Coming back from is another testament to how they bought in and their belief in each other,” Sanchez said. “You can see it when we take the field and these girls play how much they care for each other, and I think that’s the main thing that carried them through was their willingness to push themselves for each other, fight for each other, and never give up on each other.”

Iowa Western finishes with its second national title in program history and with a 19-3-1 record.

Iowa Western (19-3-1)` 1 0 – 1

Salt Lake (14-4-2) 0 0 – 0

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