“We are a team. If we concentrate on looking each other in the eye knowing that we have given our very best, that is good enough,” Xavier Coach Doug Graham said. “With doing that the wins will be more prevalent, but it must first come from doing the very best you can.”
Never is it about a single individual.
“This year has been the whole team stepping up to score,” junior Kayla Armstrong said when asked about her knack for scoring.
Armstrong was the Saint who played hero in Xavier's thrilling 3-2 overtime win over Kennedy on Thursday at Xavier.
“It was all my teammates,” Armstrong said. “We all dug through being tired and the wet field. My teammates helped me pull through.”
Armstrong, the Saints leading goal scorer for the past two seasons, came up big with a pair key goals in the Saints win.
Armstrong made her biggest impact with the game winning goal 6 1/2 minutes into the first overtime.
“Lauren Konchar had a great drive,” Armstrong said. “We are always told to follow the shot, so I prepared for her to shoot and follow the rebound.”
Armstrong chipped it into the net and the Saints celebrated a hard fought victory.
Class 2A top ranked Xavier (8-2, 6-2) and Class 3A No. 5 Kennedy (7-2, 6-2) both entered the game with a number of players banged up.
The Cougars were without an ill Grace Reinhart and also were missing leading scorer Tory Harmon.
The Saints were still without Lucy Martin who injuried her PCL in their season opener. Xavier also had Dale (knee contusion) and Marisa Buretti (ankle sprain) playing through pain.
Neither team used injuries as an excuse as they came out ready to play in the first half. Three first-half goals all came within a furious four minute stretch.
Xavier struck first on a goal from Marinna Schroud, who was called up from the junior varsity squad because of the injuries.
The Cougar’s Hannah Palomo took advantage of a one-on-one with the Saints' keeper to tie things at 1-1 roughly three minutes later.
That was Armstrong’s cue to step up and step up she did.
Armstrong took the ball and went on the attack right off the kickoff, scoring just 18 seconds after the Cougars' goal to give her team a 2-1 lead going into halftime.
The second half saw opportunities on both sides of the field but it wasn’t until the final five minutes that the Cougars pulled the game back level on a goal from Kaela Dickerman.
“It shows great, great character from both teams,” Graham said of both teams continuing to fight and find a way to score.
Kennedy put the pressure on early in overtime but in the end it was a humble Armstrong that netted the winner as the Saints took the Battle of 42nd Street.
“We finished the second half very strongly so we wanted to try to keep the momentum,” Kennedy Coach Andrew McKnight said. “It was a nice counter goal that they scored. It was well worked and well deserved.”
Armstrong said the soccer rivalry between the schools is a strong one that has meaning.
“It does for us at least. I mean it is what it is,” she said.
The win gives the Saints some confidence heading into the final stretch after they dropped two of three last week.
“It’s great because we know we can all pull together as a team when we really need to,” Armstrong said. “It’s really satisfying after a couple devastating losses.”
Both teams will continue to battle for their respective division titles Tuesday. Kennedy hosts Dubuque Hempstead and Xavier travels to Waterloo East.
The boys game at Kennedy was postponed by severe thunderstorms. The Cougars held a 1-0 lead when the game was called 8 minutes and 45 seconds into the contest. No makeup date has been set.
XAVIER 3, KENNEDY 2 (OT)
Goals: CRK -- Hannah Palomo, Kaela Dickerman; CRX -- Marinna Schroud, Kayla Armstrong 2. Assists: CRK -- Emily Feltes, Jordan Holmes; CRX -- Marissa Berutti, Annie Dale, Lauren Konchar.
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