MUSCATINE – Semifinal shakiness? More like semifinal supernova.
These Cedar Rapids Xavier Saints are taking no prisoners en route to what seems inevitable Iowa girls’ athletics history. They got two goals each from Kayla Armstrong and Annie Dale on their way to a 5-0 dissection Friday afternoon of Sioux City East at the state soccer tournament.
Beat North Scott (12-9) in today’s Class 2A championship game, and its seventh heaven for Xavier. No girls’ team, regardless of sport, has won seven consecutive state titles.
This already is the record 10th consecutive year at the state tourney for Xavier and its ninth straight year in a championship game. Its seven championships also are a record.
That’s seven with a bullet, if you watched this game.
“Honestly, I’ve tried not to think about it too much,” said Xavier’s Mary Leavett. “It’s really crazy when you actually do think about it. The difference that we could potentially make. I think tomorrow I’ll probably be psyching myself out a little bit more. But right now, I’m trying not to think about it too much.”
“We just try to play the game first,” fellow senior Annie Dale added. “Then celebrate.”
If this was boxing, they would have stopped it after the first five minutes due to TKO. Dale and Kayla Armstrong had goals in that time frame to stun an East team that came in 17-1 and had allowed all of 12 goals.
Unlike their 2-1 quarterfinal victory Thursday over ADM, Xavier (17-1) kept adding to its lead. Armstrong scored at the 18-minute mark to make it 3-0 at halftime, and Dale and Lauren Konchar had second-half goals.
“We came out ready to play,” Armstrong said. “We knew that they were going to be tough. No game here is easy. We knew we had to come out right off the bat … Every game, it’s really challenging (for them) once you put a team on its heels.”
The shutout remained intact even after Caitlin Foley (East’s leading goal scorer) was given a second-half penalty kick against Xavier goalkeeper Sarah Chicchelly. She missed.
A Saints day all around.
“Absolutely there have been nerves,” senior defender Leavett said. “Each game at the state tournament has been its own battle and (has) its own set of nerves. I know myself, and I think I can speak for a lot of girls on the team, we definitely get very nervous before each game.”
“All credit to them,” said Xavier Coach Doug Graham. “They’re disciplined, they work hard. They’re a terrific bunch of girls. I can’t say enough about them.”