CEDAR RAPIDS — The only thing Cedar Rapids Kennedy needed to advance to the Class 3A girls’ state soccer tournament was a soft tap of the ball off sophomore Carly Langhurst’s foot.
Throughout the season, Courgars Coach Scott Myers preached how each player should put the team on her shoulders. In last night’s 1-0 victory over undefeated Linn-Mar, Langhurst did just that.
“She asked if she could get forward and I said go for it,” Myers said. “We’ve talked all season about putting the team on your shoulders and doing that last little bit. And she did it.”
Langhurst said the emotion of advancing to the state tournament was sweetened with the clutch of revenge her team got. The Cougars lost the regular-season matchup against the Lions.
“I played the ball up to center and they played a good ball out wide,” Langhurst said of how she was able to score. “I knew my team was tired in the middle, so I tried to make that run up the middle for them.”
Langhurst then snuck around the backside and received a “beautiful cross” from sophomore Sydney Hayden.
Langhurst said it felt pretty good to hand the Lions their only loss.
“It was a huge game and we knew this was going to be the biggest game of the season,” Langhurst said. “We had to beat them and they were undefeated. We had to come out strong and we just came ready to play.
“It feels really good, especially getting revenge.”
In the win-or-go-home match, Myers said his team wanted it more.
“People say it’s an upset because they were undefeated,” he said. “And I think that’s the hardest thing for them.
“They had everything to lose and we had everything to win. Our girls showed that by playing with a lot of heart, taking some risks and taking some gambles.”
The Cougars kept their cool throughout last night’s game, only getting one goal out of their 12 shots. Myers said that’s why Kennedy will be heading to the state tournament.
“We’ve had a good couple days in practice and having fun and doing what you want to do,” Myers said. “We do this because we love it.”