116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY – The Run, as impressive as you’ll ever see, wasn’t enough to put Cedar Rapids Kennedy’s girls’ soccer team over the top Wednesday night.
But The Shot? That was a straight out winner.
Amanda Williams lofted a perfectly placed free kick from about 40 yards out that feathered over the keeper and into the net with 7:02 left to lift the Cougars past No. 15 Iowa City High, 3-2, in a back-and-forth Class 3A regional semifinal.
It was the sixth goal of the season for the middle defender and without question her best.
“She actually stayed after practice last night for 10 minutes working on her shot,” said Kennedy Coach Annie Feltes Welsh. “She has it in her, but believing in herself, she has come a long way in unleashing that tiger that she has inside herself.”
That tiger roared mightily at the best possible time.
“I didn’t look,” Williams said, when asked if she knew how far out was this free kick. “I looked at the goal, and that’s it. I just wanted to make sure going into this game that I was going to be able to do whatever I needed to do and have it be as perfect as I could. I was just having fun last night (practicing free kicks) because it’s fun no matter what. It felt good last night, and I saw the shot today, and I just wanted to take it.”
“It left my foot, and it felt good.”
Kennedy (9-6) plays fifth-ranked Waukee (13-3) in a 3A regional final Thursday. The teams played early in the season, with Waukee winning, 4-1.
But the Cougars believe they’re a much better club now.
“I want to win,” said Kennedy forward Delaney Holtey, who had the Cougars’ other two goals, the University of Iowa recruit’s 23rd and 24th this season. “Take this thing as far as you can. You get a year out (because) of COVID, so you want to put your all into this season. Make sure it counts. Take the team to state, we haven’t been with this crew before. It’d be a great way to finish things off for everyone’s season.”
Holtey scored 29 seconds into the second half, her goal countered three minutes later by City High’s Mia DePrenger. Holtey put Kennedy back up with 31:02 left in the game with an unreal 45-yard run around and through four City High defenders.
Holtey split two Little Hawks on her way to the right side of the box and curled a shot into the net from a bad angle. City High tied things back up at 2 nine minutes later on a goal by Morgan Turner.
City High’s season ended 9-5.
“We’ve been feeling pretty good all week practicing,” said Feltes Welsh. “We started off a little bit rough, but we’re at the point of the season where we feel as though things are coming together at the right time. Our chemistry is coming together, our game plan is coming together. So I had all the trust in the world in these girls today, and I just knew that if we could find our fight and give about 10 percent more, something good would happen.”
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