WAVERLY — The record is only two years old, and it might not last the week.
Western Dubuque senior midfielder Chloe Baumgartner not only leads Class 3A girls’ soccer with 23 goals scored this season, she is on the verge of overtaking the school record for a career.
“It helps when you have some teammates,” Baumgartner said with a laugh after the Bobcats placed fourth at the Waverly-Shell Rock girls’ soccer tournament on Saturday. “Some teammates to give you the ball. They put it right in the right spot and all I’ve got to do is slide it in.”
The 23 goals is a single-season career high for Baumgartner, who needs just two more to equal the school-record 67 that Madison Simon tallied from 2013-16.
“She’s not a selfish player,” Western Dubuque Coach Cecilia Zangara said. “She knows when to drop the ball off if she needs to drop the ball off. She’ll also take the shot if she’s got to take it.”
As a senior, Baumgartner has embraced her leadership role on what she called a “very tight-knit” team. On the field, both she and Zangara credit strength-training time in the weight room as the impetus for her improved ability to strike from long range.
“It’s the leadership on and off the field,” Zangara said. “She puts in hard work in that weight room in and out of season. Her dedication to this team is the best I’ve ever seen and that’s just grown with her experience.”
When deciding on a college soccer destination, Baumgartner found many of the same attributes she enjoys with the Bobcats at Luther College in Decorah. An overnight recruiting visit convinced Baumgartner to sign with the Norse, for whom she is “willing to play anywhere.”
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“I loved the team environment,” Baumgartner said. “It was very welcoming. … Russ (Schouweiler) is the head coach up there. He told me he likes how I play the ball, feed the ball.”
Western Dubuque (11-4) had won six games in a row before Saturday and has clinched second place in the Wamac East Division. The Bobcats will graduate 12 players after this season, their last in the Wamac before moving to the Mississippi Valley Conference next year.
“We know it’s going to come, we know we’re going to have some growing pains when we get there,” Zangara said. “We’re looking forward to the challenge.”
The Bobcats open pursuit of a first state-tournament berth on May 26 with a 3A regional quarterfinal against Dubuque Hempstead, which defeated Western Dubuque, 3-1, in an April 14 game cut short due to sleet, snow and freezing temperatures.
“I couldn’t be more excited,” Zangara said. “I’m pumped. I know that my team, we’re a grinding team. We’re not a team that is going to come out and bury you within 30 minutes. We’re going to take 80 minutes to come out on top, so I’m very excited to have a rematch against them.”
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