The goalkeeping tandem of Jacki Kunze and Anna Kollmorgen sparked Waukee to a 1-0, shootout victory over West Des Moines Valley on Tuesday in Waukee.
With the win, the Warriors return to the state tournament for the third consecutive season.
Kunze started and made five saves in goal. Three of those were sudden-death stops in the second overtime, including two in the span of 43 seconds during a furious Valley attack.
"Coach Greg (Velasquez) tells me that if I do anything, don’t let the ball go in the goal," said Kunze, who hadn’t played the position since youth ball before starting last week in Waukee’s 10-0 regional victory against Ottumwa. "That’s what I did the whole time, just try to keep it out."
Kollmorgen took over in the shootout. Ellie Bunz, Rachel Muse, Hannah Cook and Hannah McDevitt converted on their opportunities to put Waukee up 4-2. Kollmorgen then lunged right and scooped up Valley’s last chance, securing the Warriors’ ticket to Cownie Soccer Complex in Des Moines and a 5:45 p.m. matchup with Linn-Mar (15-3) on Thursday.
"I’m super excited," Kollmorgen said. "It was a hard-fought game the whole time. We knew it was going to be a tough game and we just powered through."
Kollmorgen was mobbed in the goal box afterward by her teammates, who had made the sprint from midfield to begin the celebration.
"Even though it came down to a shootout, the girls were very composed and that was key," coach Tony Gabriel said. "Having that confidence and striking those balls, that was nice to see."
Gabriel said the two-goalie approach gave Waukee its best chance of winning. Waukee beat Valley twice in shootouts last year, including a regional final matchup, and a penalty-kick goal was the only scoring in a 1-0 Warrior victory earlier this season.
"Jacki and Anna both have good hands and both are athletic enough to do the job so we went with them both," Gabriel said. "Jacki gives us great confidence in the box, and Anna’s a great force on the field."
Waukee held a 7-5 advantage in shots on goal. The Warriors spent much of the first half on their heels, staving off Tiger attacks. The roles were reversed in the second half.
The sixth-ranked Warriors will take on No. 5 Linn-Mar in the first round of the state tournament. The Lions beat Cedar Falls 5-2 to reach the tournament.
"We just have to play the best we can, and if something bad happens, just pick ourselves up and keep fighting through it," Kunze said.
The Warriors reached the 3A semifinals last year, and were the 2A runners-up in 2011.
"Our goals are to play our style of soccer and come away with a few wins," Gabriel said. "I’ve told these girls this is one of the toughest teams I’ve seen from Waukee. We have a great chance of taking state, we just have to bring it every day."