CEDAR RAPIDS — The Cedar Rapids Prairie girls’ soccer team was in need of a spark.
Six straight losses turned a promising beginning to the season upside down and the postseason brought a visit from a Cedar Rapids Jefferson team that notched its only win of the year against Prairie on April 17.
“We wanted revenge from the last game with them,” Prairie junior Sophia Meier said after the Hawks defeated Jefferson, 2-0, in a Class 3A regional quarterfinal Thursday at John Wall Field. “We were ready to come out strong. We deserved to win after the last couple of games. We fought really hard with the teams and I think it was just our turn.”
Meier — a UNI commit — broke a scoreless tie with a header in the 28th minute, her team-high eighth goal this season. Sophomore Bailey Burlingham added an insurance goal with an 80-foot strike into the net just before halftime, her second score of the season.
“We’ve been working on those a lot this season,” Burlingham said. “It was good to see it come together because we’ve had a lot of shots that were just so close but never made it in.”
Prairie (6-8) will play a regional semifinal next Wednesday against Waterloo Schools (8-6), a first-year cooperative girls’ soccer team comprised of students from Waterloo East and Waterloo West high schools.
“We worked on a lot of things in practice specifically for tonight,” first-year Prairie Coach Jon Lenhart said. “Patience when we had the ball, just making sure we played our game how we wanted to play it tonight. They did a fantastic job tonight. All the credit goes to them.”
The regional semifinal will be played at the Cedar Valley Sports Complex in Waterloo. Prairie lost to Waterloo at home, 2-1, last Thursday.
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“They had good foot skills in the middle,” Burlingham said. “They knew how to play it up through our defense and that was hard for us. We let up on them once we had gotten a score. We need to continue to fight through that, not let up and just possess like we did this game.”
Jefferson ends its season at 1-14.
CLASS 3A REGIONAL QUARTERFINAL
At John Wall Field
Cedar Rapids Prairie 2, Cedar Rapids Jefferson 0
Goals — Sophia Meier 1 (8), Bailey Burlingham 1 (2).
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