116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — Amanda Ross is cherishing the last few weeks of her soccer career.
She hopes her Cedar Rapids Xavier team has a special postseason in store, but Wednesday night’s regular-season game will still be one to remember for the senior left back.
Where to start? There was a free kick goal from 50 yards out. In the first half, a rare Olimpico — a goal directly from a corner kick. Don’t forget the two assists, setting up teammates for perfect headers.
The shared trait in all those statistical accomplishments is Ross’ ability to whip balls into dangerous areas. Iowa City High (6-4) was routinely unable to deal with them in 2A No. 8 Xavier’s 4-1 win at Saints Field.
“I’ve grown up playing left defender and I love it,” Ross said. “Attacking, going forward, crossing, I think that’s just what I love to do.”
Ross had scored an Olimpico for VSA United in the club game, but not for Xavier. She was excited to do it Wednesday to open the scoring in the 16th minute, while modest about her intention.
“It just kinda worked out,” Ross said. “I try to get it to that middle position so someone else can get on it, but I think I just got really lucky and it went in.”
It worked out in a more-scripted way from the same right corner flag in the 35th minute, when another Ross corner to the back post found the head of Ella Kluesner to make it 3-1. Twelve minutes earlier, Ross was on her familiar left side when she moved forward into the attack. Natalie Brown won the ball and passed back to Ross, whose cross Brielle Bastian headed in for Xavier’s second goal.
Then, 15 minutes into the second half, Ross launched a free kick from near midfield into the box that bounced past every player challenging for it and into an open net for her seventh goal of the year.
“It was so exciting,” said Ross, who’s now tied for sixth in Class 2A with 13 assists. “As a defender, it’s harder to score so it’s just exciting to pass and score and all that.”
The Saints (9-3) were No. 1 in 2A in the first Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union rankings of 2021 with Ross and multiple other starters back from the 2019 state-championship team. They’ve taken a few close losses against quality competition, but so did the team two seasons ago. All their goals are still in play.
“I think we’re doing well connecting together,” Ross said. “Our team chemistry is very good so I think we’re gonna go far because we’re all super close and know how each other work and what our strengths and weaknesses are.