Cedar Rapids Washington knocks off another highly-ranked team

Girls' soccer program steadily building under Chad Hollmer

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CEDAR RAPIDS — For the second time in four days, the Cedar Rapids Washington girls’ soccer team took down a top-five opponent.

First came Class 1A second-ranked Iowa City Regina on Saturday and then Tuesday night, it was Class 2A No. 5 Cedar Rapids Xavier’s turn to find themselves cut down by the Warriors.

Winning Tuesday’s game 2-0 and sitting at 2-1 on the season, all of a sudden, Washington is looking like a very dangerous team.

Head coach Chad Hollmer seemed like he was expecting this. So does senior midfielder Hannah Sherman.

“I think everything is coming together better this year,” Sherman said. “Out of all my years here, this feels like the one where we can make state and hopefully progress.”

Wash has been to the state soccer tournament just once — in 2011, the year before Hollmer took over the program. Since then, it’s gone 31-34 and generally been about average.

That, however, started to shift last season. After two consecutive 7-9 seasons, Washington lost a tough regional semifinal last year to Linn-Mar in a close 1-0 game.

The Warriors finished the season 9-8, but considering the team started 2-6, it was the epitome of saving a season. At Kingston Tuesday night, however, Washington did not have the look of a team simply trying to stay competitive or a squad that was mired in mediocrity.

Instead, it looked crisp and dangerous.

Sherman got her first goal of the season against the Saints and it came in the midst of a muddled free-for-all near the net. Junior defender Hannah Sacora had the other goal — a penalty kick early in the second half — but Sherman’s goal seemed to take a bit out of the Xavier line.

Getting back to the postseason would be huge and Hollmer said it was simply the next step.

“It’s just about getting people to buy into one thing,” Hollmer said. “They’ve worked extremely hard and they deserve it, I want the best for them.”

l Comments: jordan.hansen@thegazette.com

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