DES MOINES — Cedar Rapids Xavier freshman Brielle Bastian scored a goal just four minutes into the match.
Given the recent effort of the Saints’ defense, that one goal proved to be insurmountable.
“Scoring early is our big goal,” Bastian said after No. 5 Xavier upended top-ranked Adel ADM, 1-0, in a Class 2A girls’ soccer state semifinal Friday at Cownie Soccer Park. “That is what we talked about before the game because scoring early gives us a chance to just relax a bit, just take a breath. It is just a lot of stress off you, but also a 1-0 lead is pretty close, so you can’t give up. You can’t let up.”
The goal was the 14th in a fantastic freshman season for Bastian off a perfectly-placed cross from sophomore midfielder Karly Weiss, her third assist this season.
The victory sends Xavier (16-4) to a state final for the first time since 2013 and the 11th time in school history. The Saints are 9-1 all-time in state-championship matches.
“It’s unbelievable,” third-year Xavier Coach Chris Higgins said. “We have been working for this for three years. It’s a great group.”
The Saints will play No. 2 Waverly-Shell Rock (17-1) for the state title Saturday at 12:30 p.m.. Xavier handed the then-No. 1 Go-Hawks their only loss of the season April 6 at their own tournament with two goals from Bastian.
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“They’re a great team,” Higgins said. “They’ve got some proper studs on the team. They hadn’t lost a regular-season game in two years until we beat them, so that gives the girls that little bit of belief, little bit of confidence to take into the game.”
Waverly-Shell Rock defeated No. 3 Dallas Center-Grimes, 1-0, in the other semifinal. This will be the second time the two teams have met for the state championship. In 2006, Xavier won the first of its eight consecutive state titles with a 5-1 victory over the Go-Hawks.
The win streak for Xavier is now eight matches, including six shutouts. The early Bastian goal meant ADM would increase its offensive pressure on the Xavier defense, which was more than up to the task.
“We held a tight line and we just communicated,” sophomore defender Liliya Ward said. “We worked as a team.”
ADM entered the semifinal with 14 wins in a row, a No. 1 ranking in the last two Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union polls and the overall No. 1 seed in the state tournament.
It exits with an 18-2 record.
“We were scared by that title at first,” Weiss said. “But then we realized that rankings really don’t matter and we just gave it our all.”
CLASS 2A STATE SEMIFINAL
No. 5 Cedar Rapids Xavier 1, No. 1 ADM 0
Goal — Brielle Bastian (14). Assist — Karly Weiss (3).
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