COUNCIL BLUFFS — Samantha Arnold has seen her Council Bluffs Thomas Jefferson team gain momentum in recent weeks.
The Jackets kept it going while cruising to an easy win in their girls soccer postseason opener.
Arnold scored four times and Thomas Jefferson led for all but 77 seconds against Carroll in a 6-0 shutout Thursday afternoon at City Park. It sets up an Iowa Class 2-A regional semifinal at No. 7 C.B. Lewis Central at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
“The game plan was to be focused and never underestimate the opponent going in,” Arnold said. “Sometimes that's difficult to do, especially with a young team. There were a few more things we could have done, but it's always good to win and stay positive.”
Calee Morgal got the Jackets (9-10) smiling early with a score in the second minute of action. Arnold added a hat trick in the first half capped by a breakaway roller into the right side of the net in the 29th minute.
Dana Mefferd found Sadie Andrews five minutes later to make it 5-0. Arnold connected from about 25 yards out early in the second half before Thomas Jefferson emptied its bench.
“We just kind of went through the motions,” Thomas Jefferson coach Mark Royer said. “(Carroll) tried, and sometimes you're better and the kids did enough to get by. We got that first goal and just relaxed.”
The frustration was evident for Carroll, which attempted 15 shots to the Jackets' 17. At one point in the second half, a Carroll spectator told an upset player to stop complaining and worry about defending her own girl.
“Which one?” the girl yelled back, drawing laughs.
Indeed, Carroll coach Glenn Babb said, it felt like his Tigers (4-12) were outmanned throughout the match.
Thursday marked the final game for the Carroll seniors who made up the first freshman class within the four-year-old program. Seven Tigers saw their careers end.
But Babb said Carroll ran into a better team Thursday.
“All the credit to them,” Babb said. “They have some really good players. But our girls didn't back down, and that's the main thing.”
Thomas Jefferson also broke or extended a pair of impressive single-season school records. Sophomore forward Loren Hemiller recorded four assists, reaching 14 to break a mark more than 20 years old. And Arnold increased her goal total to 33 — good for third most in the state regardless of class.
Arnold said her group is embracing another shot at Lewis Central (11-5) after the Titans pounded them 7-1 on April 25. After all, the Jackets are now 4-1 in their last five outings, with the only blemish a last-second loss against 2-A No. 13 Glenwood.
“These last three weeks the kids have been playing really well,” Royer said. “I wouldn't say this was our best effort, but the game was in control. Maybe that's a good thing. Who knows?”
Carroll (4-12) ........................................... 0 0—0
CB Thomas Jefferson (9-10) .................. 5 1—6
Goals: TJ, Samantha Arnold 4, Calee Morgal, Sadie Andrews. Assists: TJ, Loren Hemiller 4, Dana Mefferd.
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