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There were a lot of smiling faces at the Linn-Mar girls’ soccer banquet this past weekend.
Part of the reason for the excitement was the fact the Lions posted an 18-1 record — all wins coming consecutively before getting shut out of the state tournament by eventual champion Cedar Rapids Kennedy in a regional final.
Linn-Mar Coach Steve Dickinson had reason to be happy, too, after getting named the Class 3A coach of the year by the Iowa Girls Coaches Association. According to Dickinson, though, the biggest smiles came on the faces of six Linn-Mar girls who were honored one way or another by being named to one of three all-state teams.
“Anytime you get a player on the list you feel very fortunate,” Dickinson said. “That’s 32 teams in 3A that have the potential to vote. To have these girls as all-state players is great stuff.”
Lion juniors Jensen Sevening, Olivia Garcia and Rylie Frese all were first-team selections, announced today by the IGCA. Garcia scored 20 goals for the Lions, Sevening posted eight goals and 12 assists. Frese, the goalie, was regarded as one of the best netminders in the state after stopping 90 percent of the shots she faced this year.
Claire Larson, a sophomore for the Lions, had nine goals and eight assists and was the lone Linn-Mar player on the 3A second team. Junior defenseman Emily Menges and senior midfielder Malory Garman rounded out the Lion selections as honorable mentions.
Iowa City West’s Alli Peterson and Kennedy’s Kaela Dickerman also earned 3A first-team honors, Xavier’s Marissa Berutti was a 2A first-team pick and Iowa City Regina’s Katie Wick and Lauren Grote were joined on the 1A honor squad by Solon’s Josie Durr and Clear Creek Amana’s Hannah Borman.
With five all-state caliber players returning in 2015 for the Lions, Dickinson has even more to smile about.
“I love when you get that type of caliber of player in additional years,” Dickinson said. “I’m proud of the five coming back. That type of experience is invaluable, they know the game and system.”
One-third of the girls selected to the first team for 3A come from the Mississippi Valley Conference, which Dickinson said speaks volumes of the level of competition in the league.
He also said that being so well-represented on all-state teams will improve the state of soccer in the area, starting from the bottom-up.
“It’s a hotbed for soccer,” Dickinson said. “It’s the fastest growing sport in the nation and the girls find they like it.
“It should help both the club teams and the high school teams, when you have a girl that has all-state potential and is selected. Those programs become stronger. Young girls see that and the programs and high schools benefit. They can then show the younger girls how, if you try and work hard, you have potential for success to grow in the high school years.”
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