Iowa Western goalie wants to break ‘cursed’ feeling -
Published Thursday, September 12, 2013 at 6:44 pm / Updated at 6:51 pm
Iowa Western goalie wants to break ‘cursed’ feeling

COUNCIL BLUFFS — Will Lukowski just doesn’t understand it.

Iowa Western’s sophomore keeper has had an outstanding soccer career while playing on some very good teams. But those teams, for whatever reason, have always come up short.

His prep team in Lee’s Summit, Mo., lost to the eventual Missouri Class 3 champion in district play during his sophomore, junior and senior seasons. And his club team, Kansas City Futbol Club United, has fallen in the state championship match for three consecutive years.

“I feel like I’m cursed, honestly,” he said. “I can never win a team championship.”

Iowa Western coach Jordan Carver heard some of Lukowski’s tales for the first time this week.

“If I’d have known all this stuff prior, I’d have never recruited him,” he jested.

All jokes aside, Lukowski’s curse seems to have followed him to Council Bluffs. Last year, the then-unbeaten Reivers fell to Marshalltown 1-0 in the Region XI championship match.

After opening the season at 17-0-1, Iowa Western didn’t qualify for the NJCAA tournament.

“I just couldn’t believe that we weren’t going to nationals,” Lukowski said.

The second-team NJCAA All-American recalls nothing from the match. He didn’t play in it.

After a season in which he set a school record by recording 12 shutouts and allowed only eight goals in 18 matches (a 0.44 goals-against average), Lukowski had to sit out the final match with a concussion suffered in a semifinal win over Dakota County Tech (Minn.).

“To be honest, I don’t really remember it,” he said. “My head was still really messed up.”

What he did know was that the Reiver season ended, and he couldn’t stop it.

Lukowski said the loss has served as motivation for his second, and final, season at Iowa Western.

“For me, individually, it was extremely hard,” he said. “Not being able to play in the last game, to watch everybody and see how disappointed they were, it was really hard. This offseason, that’s all I could think about.”

The Reivers, with a healthy Lukowski, got another shot at the Tigers on Wednesday in Council Bluffs. Iowa Western (7-0) blanked Marshalltown 3-0 in the rain. It was the team’s fifth straight shutout.

Heading into Saturday’s match at Indian Hills, Iowa Western has not lost a game with Lukowski in goal.

Carver said his keeper has been successful because of the job he does setting up his defense.

“He’s a great communicator, sometimes to the point where he’s obnoxious,” Carver said.

It’s limited the number of shots he’s faced while with the Reivers. He’s stopped the others.

“The two or three big saves he’d have to make in the game, he made them,” Carver said. “He may not get a lot of action in the games, but when they finally got through, he was clutch.”

The Iowa Western coach said Lukowski improved during the offseason, especially in distributing the ball. His punts and goalie kicks are more consistent, Carver said.

That’s limited the opportunities opponents have had to counter.

Otero (Colo.) did score three goals against Lukowski in what the All-American called a “humbling” opener. The Reivers still won that match in Wyoming 4-3.

Iowa Western then edged Laramie County (Wyo.) 2-1 in its second game. Lukowski didn’t shut out the Golden Eagles, but he did stop a penalty kick that would’ve put them in front.

“If that goal goes in, they probably could’ve won that game,” Carver said.

Lukowski has never given up a PK goal in regulation at Iowa Western. He also stopped two in his most recent state championship match with his club team. Both were then overruled.

With his team up by one with a minute left in double overtime, Lukowski made the save on a potential game-tying penalty kick. However, officials ruled he had come off his line early.

After the match went into a shootout, Lukowski made another save. The officials brought it back again, making the same ruling. KCFC United went on to lose the title match.

Video later proved neither call was correct. The keeper was left without a title again.

“I’ve never been able to win a team championship. For some of the accolades that I’ve gotten individually, I’ve never been able to do something as a team,” he said. “That’s been my biggest upset because I want to be able to share that moment with my team and celebrate.

“It’s not fun. It’s not fun to have that heartbreak.”

The All-American is hoping he can overcome his personal curse this fall. The Reivers are ranked third in the NJCAA poll and are again the favorites to win the Region XI championship.

Lukowski feels anything less than a berth to the national tournament will be disappointing.

“I feel like there’s a time,” he said. “This is my time.”

Contact the writer: Tony Boone    |  

Tony Boone is a staff writer for The World-Herald. He primarily covers high school and college sports in western Iowa.

World champion Crawford's promoter working to have title defense at CenturyLink Center
Hail, strong winds, heavy rain hit south-central Nebraska
GICC hoping to take next step and win state
Friendly competition pushes IWCC twin brothers
Agreement reached to end dog racing at Bluffs Run at end of 2015
Police ID. body found near 36th, Seward Streets
OSHA: Union Pacific must reinstate worker who reported injuries suffered on job
Broncos’ Maag, Doane’s Wolken named national field athletes of the week
Northwest Omaha bar closes its doors
Video: Stothert says Crossroads project is 'full speed ahead,' but she won't support bond issue
'Fairly old' human skull found in Mills County
Omaha CrossFitter on cover of national magazine
Hy-Vee opens its first Omaha Market Cafe
One father's tale of overcoming infertility
West Corp.'s 1st-quarter profits up 33 percent
Recruiting update: Reviewing recent commits, Husker targets
Cowboys, Indians unite in opposition to Keystone XL pipeline
Hansen: Dying a year ago, Vi proves — at 87 — that it's never too late for a comeback
$450K in needed repairs means Iowa town pulling the plug on coffeepot-shaped water tower
Stock market ‘not rigged,’ TD Ameritrade CEO says
Here's the deal with that outdoor art near CenturyLink Center
Annie, My 12-year-old grandson insists on sleeping with Grammie
Lexington couple accused of injuring toddler
Primer: Hand-brewing coffee at home
Nebraska teacher convicted of sexually assaulting girl

Wednesday's Top Events
College baseball
Iowa at Creighton, canceled

Game Time, TV/Radio Schedule
Wednesday's Area Events
Wednesday's TV/Radio Schedule
Thursday's Area Events
Thursday's TV/Radio Schedule

Prep Results (mobile)

Holes in One
Dog Racing Results
Horse Racing Entries, Horse Racing Results
Deadline Deal thumbnail
Tokyo Sushi
$5 for $10 or $10 for $20 toward All-You-Can-Eat Sushi Purchase
Buy Now
< >
Blog: Dirk's 'Mad Chatter'
Dirk Chatelain offers his thoughts on the latest news from around the sports world, complete with links to the best articles, opinion columns, YouTube videos and more.
Civic Auditorium Timeline
World-Herald columnist Tom Shatel asked readers for their favorite memories of the Civic Auditorium. We combined their submissions with a few key events or moments in the auditorium's history.
CWS: Banner Years
The College World Series historical database, a growing home for historical information about past NCAA baseball championships, which have been played in Omaha since 1950.
Downtown Omaha event map
Discover the area surrounding the CenturyLink Center, TD Ameritrade Park and downtown Omaha -- including restaurants, arts & entertainment venues, hotels and local retail outlets.
Facebook: Tom Shatel's page
Get Tom Shatel's sports columns delivered straight to your Facebook feed.
Follow Tom Shatel on Twitter
Get instant analysis and commentary from World-Herald columnist Tom Shatel on Twitter.
Nebraska high school basketball's greatest night
Four elite teams. Two buzzer-beaters. One packed house. On March 11, 1989, the stars aligned and produced the best night in Nebraska high school basketball history.
Shatel's blog
Check out the latest from World-Herald sports columnist Tom Shatel.
Shatel: Tom's Take on 20 Unforgettable Years in Sports
Get World-Herald columnist Tom Shatel's book "Shatel: Tom's Take on 20 Unforgettable Years in Sports."
Super Bowl: Through the years
The Super Bowl is a yearly media madhouse. See how The World-Herald sports section's front pages portrayed each of the Super Bowl victories won by those players celebrated in our Mt. Rushmore of Super Bowl QBs.
Talk sports with World-Herald reporters
World-Herald reporters log on to talk about the latest news surrounding the Huskers, Jays, Mavericks, high schools sports and more. Check out the upcoming chat schedule or replay the latest discussions with the fans.
The disappearance of small-town football
Friday night lights across rural Nebraska are going dark. But one town, in its last season of gridiron independence, proved that school spirit is stronger than ever.
The Nebraska 100
In an historic 2005 series, The World-Herald selected the state’s all-time top 100 athletes. In a new web exclusive, see the digitized collection for the first time.
2013 college football preview
View our 2013 college football preview, a 26-page, three-part section filled with coverage of the Huskers, Big Ten conference and more.
Big Red Bowl Retrospective
See complete historical results, game recaps and photo coverage from the Nebraska Cornhuskers college football bowl game appearances, from the 1941 Rose Bowl up to today.
Want to get World-Herald stories sent directly to your home or work computer? Sign up for's News Alerts and you will receive e-mails with the day's top stories.
Can't find what you need? Click here for site map »