Leah Digmann scored two goals and Faith Krapfl made 11 saves to help lead the Western Dubuque girls’ soccer team to a 3-2 win over Benton Community in their Class 2A regional semifinal match played in Epworth, June 2.
Not only did this victory stop an eight-game losing streak, but it made program history as it was the first time the Bobcats have ever won a regional semifinal match.
“We knew we had what it took all year to get to this point, we just had to remember and we did that. They remembered what it took to win,” said Cecelia Zangara, head coach. “This team just made program history. We have never gotten past the second round. We have never been this close to state.”
With so much on the line, both teams provided fireworks very early, but it was Benton Community (7-10) who got on the scoreboard first when Shakayla Lamer was able to get the ball past Krapfl for a 1-0 lead less than two minutes into the match.
The Bobcats kept attacking the goal and quickly their efforts paid off when Sydney Hill collected her own rebound off the left goalpost and knocked it past Benton Community’s goalie, tying the game at 1-1 with 34 minutes to play in the first half.
After Faith Bower’s shot on goal sailed just wide, Western Dubuque regrouped and mounted another attack. This time Macy Simon along the right sideline delivered a cross to a charging Digmann who headed the ball sharply into the back of the net for a 2-1 lead with 31:15 left on the clock in the first half.
“I felt it hit my head and I just looked up and saw that it was in the back of the net. I just got really excited because we had taken the lead,” said Digmann. “It was just a big team effort with Macy getting the ball and making a really good cross. I was just in the perfect spot to get it in.”
“We have worked on that a lot, when the other team scores first,” said Zangara about her team being down early and scoring two goals in less than three minutes. “I’m proud of these girls. They didn’t bury heads. They came right back to take a 2-1 lead and then they didn’t stop. They had the pedal to the metal the entire game.”
They did manage to grab a 3-1 lead 4 minutes and 47 seconds into the second half when Digmann out-battled a defender to get the ball and fire off a shot with her left foot that sailed past Benton Community’s goalie.
“I think our seniors just flipped a switch and knew that this was their last game on this field and we weren’t going down without a fight and fight they did,” said Zangara.
Benton Community managed to get back within a goal when Lamer scored her second of the match with 25:43 left to play to make it 3-2.
Western Dubuque used their offense to help their defense and continued to attack the goal, keeping the ball mainly in Benton Community’s end of the field. Anytime a shot was fired toward the Bobcats’ goal it was calmly collected or directed away by Krapfl as Western Dubuque secured the 3-2 victory.
“It feels good to get this win,” said Bower. “There are a lot of things that we can’t control, but one thing we can always control is our effort, and I feel like Leah is one of those girls who day in and day out is always giving 100 percent. Tonight, that really paid off for her and you could tell that when we sent the ball through.”