Mustangs punch ticket to third straight state tournament
A day after the boys soccer team was knocked out of the state semifinal to Bondurant-Farrar, the Dallas Center-Grimes girls (13-5) punched their ticket to the tournament with a 2-0 win over Clear Creek-Amana (15-3) on Friday.
Knotted up 0-0 through the first half, head coach Dan James said the team knew it would have to take a more aggressive approach in the final period.
"We had chance to score point-blank twice in the last five minutes that we didn't capitalize on," James explained. "So we were a little bummed at halftime. At the same time, we knew they'd sit back and they made it tough on us in the second half and put 7-8 girls in the box."
Keeping the ball in Clear Creek territory for virtually the entire second half, the Mustangs eventually broke through the crack thanks to the constant pressure on the Clipper defense.
With 18:31 remaining, Olivia Cyr found the first gap to take a 1-0 lead and send the crowd into hysterics. Two minutes later, Elena Bartak kept up the momentum and sealed the deal to take the final 2-0 lead.
This makes three straight state tournament appearances for DCG, and the team's 10th bid since 2008.
"This one's probably more special because we didn't get to play last year," James said. "So it's for these girls that would have been there last year. This would have been the fourth straight year for our seniors. So I'm kind of bummed that we didn't actually get to be there.
"We had a few bumpy roads in the first part of the season but I told the girls, I think they just kept going and they didn't hang their head on each other. There are only eight teams left. So we're gonna go down to Cow and play the best of them next week.”
DCG comes in as the No. 7 seed and will play No. 2 Lewis Central at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, June 8. The winner will play No. 3 Norwalk or No. 6 North Scott the next day. On the opposite side of the bracket is No. 1 Waverly-Shell Rock which beat the Mustangs 3-2 in the beginning of May.
Among Class 2A's final eight teams, DCG ranks fifth with 3.7 goals per game and third with 0.7 goals allowed per game. No. 5 Spencer scores the most at an average of 8.3 goals while Norwalk's 0.5 points allowed is the lowest.
No. 8 Xavier comes in with 16 straight tournament appearances and will face Waverly in the first round to defend its crown as the reigning state champs. Lewis Central and Waverly also have impressive streaks of five and seven straight appearances respectively.