‘Team effort’ guides Xavier girls past ADM/Van Meter
DES MOINES – Cedar Rapids Xavier girls soccer coach Bailey Dorrington had been waiting all season for a team to try and shut down senior star Kayla Armstrong.
ADM/Van Meter did its best, trying all game to do just that. But with a combination of youth and hustle, the Saints (17-1) got the job done anyway, battling for a 4-1 victory in the Class 2A quarterfinal.
“This is what I wanted to see happening,” Dorrington said. “It’s exciting because we know Kayla can score goals, but it’s not all we have. A lot of times she just hasn’t been able to be stopped for us to prove it, but we proved it today.”
Xavier got goals from three underclassmen on a day where it looked like Armstrong was finally going to be held scoreless.
Sophomore Katie Ives got her first goal in just her third game with Xavier after transferring from Cedar Rapids Jefferson. Armstrong finally got on the board with just 10 seconds left in the game.
“Bailey has been telling us that a lot of people know how Kayla plays, and people have been watching her,” Ives said. “She said (the rest of the team) needed to step up and score as many goals as we could so that we could get to that level and get to the championship.”
The Tigers (12-7) had Emily Hofmann – who scored ADM/Van Meter’s lone goal – shadowing Armstrong for much of the game, leaving the senior’s teammates open. Along with Ives, freshman Brylee Bastain and sophomore Elizabeth Bailey each had goals.
“It’s refreshing (to see others score),” Dorrington said. “There’s a lot of talk about Kayla, which is great, but there are people feeding her the ball. Our defense has been the least-scored-on team in the (Mississippi Valley) Conference…they’ve been rock solid.
“It’s a whole team effort, and I think people get confused thinking Kayla is the only kid who can score on this team. We’ve got other kids too.”
Dorrington downplayed, once again, talk of the well-documented streak of seven straight state championships. She seemed almost relieved a team gave her girls a run for their money and challenged them early in the game.
“If we get frustrated, we’ll work harder. I’m OK with that,” Dorrington said. “It was a good fight today, they’re a great team. Had we not done some things right, had a couple headers early on to deflate them a little bit, who knows what could’ve happened.”
With ADM/Van Meter challenging Xavier physically and strategically, Dorrington said her team got a good test to begin the tournament. Getting that out of the way and proving they can succeed without Armstrong doing all the scoring, she said, is a relief and will allow them to go forward with confidence.
“This team probably has been the best all year out of all the teams we’ve played, as far as dealing with Kayla,” Dorrington said. “They were all over her.… We’ve been waiting for someone to do that to her all year.
“This definitely relieved some stress, but we weren’t worried. We knew we could do it. We were just waiting for the opportunity of someone actually giving her problems enough that other kids need to score.”
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