By Chris Umscheid
North Liberty Leader
MUSCATINE— With shock and sadness all around him, West High coach David Rosenthal remained as up-beat and positive as he could.
“I really think we out-played them,” the coach said in the wake of a 2-0 loss to Cedar Rapids Kennedy in the first round of the Class 3A girls state soccer tournament. “We made a couple mistakes; they took advantage of a couple mistakes of ours, and deserved to win.”
West dominated the first half, launching blistering attacks on the Cougars’ goal, but were unable to find the back of the net. Kennedy’s Hannah Palomo found the range and got past West keeper Jayne Heinrich at the 20:14 mark though for a 1-0 lead at the half. Heinrich and Trojan Nation protested that Palomo was offside, but the refs let the goal stand. Rosenthal said he also thought she was offside but, “when all is said and done, Palomo is a terrific player.” The coach took blame upon himself for not prepping his defenders better against her.
In the second period the momentum seemed to shift to the Cougars, even after Rosenthal had made some shifts of his own.
“You try to get some different things going to rattle them,” he said. However it was the Cougars who rattled the Women of Troy. “They settled-in and played more defense minded. We shot ourselves in the foot and missed some opportunities.” Kennedy’s Kaela Dickerman found an opportunity at the 46:24 mark and put in the second goal for the Cougars.
It was Kennedy’s second win this season over West, having also won in the regular season back on April 28 on West’s field by a score of 1-0. The Cougars entered the tournament with a 14-4 record to West’s 17-1. The trip to Muscatine was the 11th for the Women of Troy overall and the second consecutive tournament appearance, having taken the runner-up spot last year.
The match marked the final performance by seniors Emma Winstead, Leah Murray, Rachel Hegeman, Brenna Gray, Mary Hausler and Ivy Vance.
Shortly after the loss Rosenthal gathered his dispirited and battered (Eleni Katz suffered an apparent shoulder injury in the match) troops for one last pep talk. He told them he was proud of them and said they were perhaps the best group of players and people he’s had as a coach.
“These are talented soccer players. These are athletic players with a lot of heart and a lot of knowledge of the game. But today, we didn’t have the soccer ability to beat a very good Kennedy team,” Rosenthal said. “I would take these young ladies any day as leaders and soccer players as a team over anybody.”