Xavier kicks Sioux City East, 5-0, for Class 2A championship

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By Jeff Johnson and Scott Saville

DES MOINES – Eight straight is great. So is Kayla Armstrong.

It’s one for the thumb plus three for the Cedar Rapids Xavier Saints after a 5-0 kicking of Sioux City East in the Class 2A girls’ soccer title game Saturday afternoon at Cownie Park. Let that sink in a minute: EIGHT consecutive state championships, a girls’ record regardless of sport.

“Honestly, no, I never could have imagined this growing up,” said Xavier’s Sammi Shepard. “It’s kind of gone through our family. I have a sister, Andi, who was on the 2006 team that started the streak. I have another sister, Tori, who graduated two years ago. My mom (Rocki) is an assistant coach. So our family, soccer’s been a main part of it, and I’ve just kind of grown up watching Xavier soccer … I always looked up to those girls.”

They’re looking up to these girls right now, particularly Armstrong. The superior senior striker – who had to sit out a few minutes because of a bloody nose – scored four more goals to bring her final season total to 47.

Her breakaway just 4:38 in ended any thought anyone may have had about a historic upset. She had a hat trick in the first half alone, netting a fourth goal that was disallowed because of an offside call.

Another breakaway by Kayla the Conqueror made it 4-0 early in the second half. Freshman Brylee Bastain gave Saints fans yet another reason to cheer with a goal in the 73rd minute.

Not that they haven’t had tons to cheer for these past eight years.

“It’s still going,” said Bailey Dorrington, who has been a part of “The Streak” as a player, assistant coach and now head coach. “I’m definitely relieved. My first year is under my belt. Next year will be interesting, as we lose nine seniors and seven starters. But we will start over and rebuild just like we do every year.”

Armstrong, by the way, will play soccer beginning next year at Drake, so this was a fitting weekend introduction to her new home field. She had eight goals in the tournament and was an obvious choice for 2A all-tournament team captain.

“Kayla Armstrong is a special player,” said East Coach Tyler Mogensen, whose team finished 18-3. “We tried our best to slow her down, but she’s unstoppable. She’s going to go on to do great things.”

“It really meant a lot to (score four goals) this game,” she said. “This game was all or nothing. Our seniors took pride in this game, and we wanted it really badly. This year, we went into the season just wanting to have fun. Just be able to be laid back and enjoy the game. We played not to worry about a state championship, but to value each game and each moment.”

There has been a lot for them to value. Xavier finished 19-1, with its only loss coming in penalty kicks to 3A semifinalist Iowa City West.

Here is the Class 2A all-tournament team:

Captain – Kayla Armstrong (Cedar Rapids Xavier); Caitlin Foley (Sioux City East); Mallory Lynch (Pella); Bri Schroder (Pella); Bekah Allen (Pleasant Valley); Stephanie D’Cruz (Pleasant Valley); Eliot Sayavong (Sioux City East); Kylee Goodvin (Sioux City East); Sammi Shepard (Cedar Rapids Xavier); Elizabeth Bailey (Cedar Rapids Xavier); Sarah Chicchelly (Cedar Rapids Xavier/goalkeeper).

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