CEDAR RAPIDS — Caitlynn Daniels’ collegiate future is in basketball.
The Cedar Rapids Xavier junior and University of Alabama-Birmingham basketball commit practices twice a week with the AAU club Team Iowa, plays in weekend tournaments and participates in its strength and conditioning program.
Still, she has found the time to become a better soccer player.
“It has always been a big part of my life,” Daniels said after scoring the only goal in a 1-0 victory for the Class 2A seventh-ranked Saints over 3A No. 12 Kennedy in a Mississippi Valley Conference girls’ soccer match on Tuesday at Heco Field. “I came into the season like it’s not just for fun. I still want to play to win even though basketball is my main sport.”
Daniels — a first team all-MVC midfielder last season — broke a scoreless tie shortly after halftime with a free kick that deflected off a Kennedy defender and skipped past the goalkeeper. Daniels leads the Saints with four goals this season, just one short of last season’s mark.
“This year she has come in and she has looked in great shape,” third-year Xavier Coach Chris Higgins said. “A lot of our creativity is built around her and a lot of the girls feed off of her. To have her banging goals in gives a boost to the rest of the girls on the team.”
Xavier (3-2, 2-1 MVC) received a defensive jolt by the return of sophomore defender Amanda Ross, who had not played since the Saints defeated then-2A No. 1 Waverly-Shell Rock on April 6. Ross and fellow defenders Avery Campbell, Liliya Ward and Abbi Westhoff kept the Kennedy offense in a state of frustration.
A diving save by Xavier goalkeeper Maggie Conrad in the 72nd minute helped seal the shutout.
“First off, a clean sheet was number one,” Higgins said. “We have given up too many goals with too many individual mistakes that have killed us in recent games. … It was great to get a shutout.”
Kennedy is now 0-2 both overall and in the MVC.
AT HECO FIELD
Class 2A No. 7 Cedar Rapids Xavier 1, 3A No. 12 Cedar Rapids Kennedy 0
Goal — Caitlynn Daniels (4).
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