Prep Soccer

Linn-Mar eliminated by Ankeny at girls' state soccer for second year in a row

Lions remain winless in 7 state-tournament appearances

DES MOINES — The next time Linn-Mar is fortunate enough to qualify for the girls’ state soccer tournament, it may prefer to see any team other than Ankeny.

For the second year in a row and third time overall, Ankeny sent the Lions home.

“They are just a great team,” fourth-year Linn-Mar Coach Marco de Leon said the 3-0 loss in a Class 3A state quarterfinal Thursday at Cownie Soccer Park. “They came ready to play. They really wanted this. They fought hard. I thought that it took a while for us to get going. Once we got things rolling, once the intensity was there, it was just a little too little, too late.”

After a scoreless halftime, Ankeny (16-4) broke through with a goal in the 44th minute from junior Ashley Harrington, her team-high 17th this season.

Despite the second-half deficit, there was no panic in Linn-Mar, which has played from behind at times this season. Trailing 1-0 in a win-or-go-home scenario served to heighten the Lions’ fury.

“I felt that we started playing a lot better after that,” de Leon said. “We had some opportunities. Credit to Ankeny. They are a good team. Solid all around.”

Ankeny put the match out of reach over the final 15 minutes by converting two Linn-Mar fouls into goals. Ankeny senior Kate Schaeffer scored via penalty kick in the 66th minute, then scored again 10 minutes later with a beautifully-placed free kick.

Linn-Mar (18-2) was held scoreless for just the second time this season. The Lions are now 0-7 all-time at the state tournament, including first-round losses to Ankeny in each of the past two seasons, plus 2012.

“This will just make us work even harder,” Linn-Mar all-state midfielder Abigail Santana said. “We’ve got a super-young team, so we’ll just keeping working harder from here on out and I know we’ll be just as strong or even stronger next year coming back.”

Linn-Mar graduates just two seniors in midfielder Hannah Garcia and goalkeeper Anna Kimball.

“We’re very deep,” de Leon said. “We have a very good secondary goalkeeper in Waverly Patterson. She was getting 20 minutes a game, so there was really no drop-off there whatsoever, so we’re going to be fine in the goalkeeping area. Hannah is a tough senior, good leader for us, so she’ll be tough to replace but we’re very fortunate to be where we are. We have a lot of depth and we have a lot of girls in JV and then there is going to be some great girls coming up as freshmen next year. We should be fine.”

Girls’ soccer

CLASS 3A STATE QUARTERFINAL

At Des Moines

No. 6 Ankeny 3, No. 3 Linn-Mar 0

Goals — Ashley Harrington (17), Kate Schaefer (5).

l Comments: douglas.miles@thegazette.com

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