It was a defensive battle between the Class 2A state tournament top-seeded ADM and eighth-seeded Burlington Notre Dame.
Late in the second half, the Tigers solidified their first trip to the state semi-final round in program history with a 1-0 quarter-final victory. It was a defensive half that actually turned out to be quite even with both sides possessing the ball on their opponents’ sides of the field equally. With that said, however, ADM goalkeeper Delaney Bertman was forced outside the box just a couple of times as the Tiger defense stood strong, something that was very pleasing to head coach Kelsey Dolder following the match.
“Our defense played phenomenally today and did a great job of forcing some of their ball handlers into double teams and situations where they turned the ball over,” said Dolder. “Shot of scoring themselves you can’t ask much more from those girls.”
One unfortunate part for ADM was the loss of their leading scorer Ashlyn Watt who suffered a leg injury a mere 24 hours before the state tournament began. On the flip side of that coin, one of ADM’s biggest strengths has been their depth and that was on full display making the blow of not having Watt a little easier.
“There’s no doubt we’ve relied on Ashlyn for the bulk of the scoring load this season but one thing we’ve also always relied on is our depth,” started Dolder. “A lot of credit to all the girls who stepped up today. They didn’t just fill a role, they stepped up and played state level varsity soccer needed in order to win.”
Once the second half began, it seemed like the Tigers stepped up their offensive efforts and with 17:53 remaining in regulation, Delaney Barton drilled a shot from 20 yards out and after a flurry of activity surrounding the goal, ADM held the 1-0 lead. After over seven shots on goal, the Tigers captured what would be the games’ only goal yet enough to send them onto the semi-final round. It was a shot by Barton that was heard around the complex and afterward, Barton broke down her winning shot.
“I always try and put myself in the best position possible to score and once I saw the goalie was off a little bit, I made sure to set myself up with plenty of space and then I shot the ball,” said Barton.
Due to their efforts, the Tigers will now take on semi-final action today which will once again be on field nine as they battle Xavier at 1:30 p.m.