CEDAR RAPIDS — Third-year Cedar Rapids Xavier girls’ soccer coach Chris Higgins believes Quinn Hanigan has the potential to be double-digit goal scorer this season.
At this rate, the junior forward may get there by Easter.
“She has done a lot of work in the offseason,” Higgins said after the Class 2A seventh-ranked Saints were trimmed by 3A No. 9 West Des Moines Dowling, 4-3, in the season-opening match for both teams Thursday at Heco Field. “Speed and agility, strength, just trying to do the little things that are going to make her game better. And you could see today, she had that explosive first few yards of speed.”
Hanigan scored two goals against Dowling, the second of which tied the match at 2-2 just over three minutes into the second half. Last season, Hanigan was an honorable-mention selection to the all-Mississippi Valley Conference team when she posted four goals, five assists and helped the Saints win 10 matches and reach the state tournament.
“Really just getting touches on the ball during the offseason,” said Hanigan, who plays club soccer with FC United. “Working as much as I can to work on my game. I think we all did a lot of preseason to get ready for the season and doing lots of sprints and stuff like that to get in shape.”
Xavier (0-1) graduated eight seniors after last year and received an infusion of seven new freshmen to the varsity squad. With more than half the roster comprised of freshmen and sophomores, experienced returners like Hanigan, junior midfielder Caitlynn Daniels and senior defender Avery Campbell have stepped into leadership roles.
“I think we’ve been really good at being a team,” Hanigan said. “Considering how little practice we have had outside so far. They fit in great with us. All the freshmen are great. … People are stepping up.”
Xavier freshman Brielle Bastain also scored a goal.
Sophomore Logan Flori scored twice for Dowling (1-0), including an insurance goal in the 64th minute that pushed the Maroons’advantage to 4-2.
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Class 3A No. 9 West Des Moines Dowling 4, 2A No. 7 Cedar Rapids Xavier 3
Goals — WDMD: Logan Flori 2 (2), Katie Huey (1), Bridget Nolan (1); CRX: Quinn Hanigan 2 (2), Brielle Bastian (1).
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