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Iowa Mennonite traveled to Mediapolis on Saturday to face Burlington Notre Dame in the semifinals of the SEISC soccer tournament. A goal allowed with 30 seconds left in a 2-1 loss to the Nikes still stung IMS almost one month later.
This time, there was no last-minute drama as Cole Ours scored three goals in the first 15 minutes of play, leading IMS to a 5-1 win over No. 10 Burlington Notre Dame. IMS held off Columbus for a 3-2 win in the conference tournament championship match.
Coach Marcus Miller had a simple explanation for the offensive explosion in the semifinal game.
“Our shots went in,” he said, recalling a 23-shot effort in the earlier one-goal loss to the Nikes.
“We had shots, but they just didn’t go in and today they did. We could’ve had a couple more. Gerardo (Mendoza) hit the post, I think Anthony (Villatoro) hit the post once and Cole had a really good shot that hit the bar.”
Ours scored six goals in Iowa Mennonite’s three tournament games to capture the title. Four of them came in the rematch with Burlington Notre Dame.
“It meant a lot to come out like that,” Ours said. “It felt like we let ourselves down when we couldn’t finish with goals last time.”
Columbus knocked off the top-seed Danville 3-1 in a semifinal match played just prior to Iowa Mennonite’s.
After 22 minutes of scoreless play, Danga took a deflected ball and beat the Wildcats goalie to give IMS the lead.
Isaiah Swantz kicked the ball towards the back post in the final minute of the half, finding the head of Ours, who gave IMS a 2-0 lead with his 17th goal of the season.
Louis Etienne added an insurance goal in the second half, which proved to be critical.
Eric Cantarero scored the first goal of the game for Columbus and two minutes later, fellow senior Ruben Paz cut the deficit to one goal with eight minutes remaining.
Blake Bontrager had 11 saves in the final two games on Saturday, including six in the championship game win.
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