NORTH LIBERTY — Players on the Cedar Rapids Kennedy girls’ soccer team have the benefit of learning from a coach who has walked their path.
After winning state titles in 2012 and 2014 as a player with the Cougars, alum Annie Feltes is in her first season as head coach of the varsity girls.
“It is awesome because she is just like one of us,” Kennedy senior Jen Schmidt said after the Cougars blanked Iowa City Liberty, 4-0, in a Mississippi Valley Conference match Tuesday night at Liberty High School. “We have to step up as seniors, of course, because we have been on this team for four years. She is just new to this year. It gives us a chance to step up, but also she is fresh out. She knows what she is doing. She is one of us.”
Feltes previously coached the junior-varsity Cougars for two years as she pursued a degree in education at Mount Mercy, which she completed last May. She was a standout midfielder for the Mount Mercy women’s soccer team and helped the Mustangs reach the Association of Independent Institutions national tournament in 2015.
“It is definitely a learning experience for me,” Feltes said. “Taking on that bigger role and building different types of relationships. We are definitely learning as we are going.”
After an 0-2 start to its season, Kennedy (4-4, 3-2 MVC) has won four of its last six matches, including the last two. The Cougars scored just four goals through their first six matches. In the last two, they have posted seven.
“A lot of it is the team chemistry,” Feltes said. “We are coming together as a team. Toward the beginning of the season, we were playing as individuals and it was not working out for us. But now they are coming together and realizing that it works a lot better when we have the whole team playing.”
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Junior Amurie Coder got the scoring started for Kennedy in the fifth minute with a penalty kick, her team-high third goal this season. Schmidt, sophomore Allison Hubbell and senior Nikole Slinger all tallied their first scores this year.
Liberty is now 5-9, 1-4.
AT NORTH LIBERTY
Cedar Rapids Kennedy 4, Iowa City Liberty 0
Goals — Amurie Coder (3), Jen Schmidt (1), Allison Hubbell (1), Nikole Slinger (1).
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