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Heartbreak

MUSCATINE — Even after 100 minutes of arduous battle on the soccer field Saturday afternoon, the Women of Troy were ready to continue the struggle in the form of a penalty kick shoot-out.
“When we get to that point (after two overtime periods have stalemated), we try and ask the players who are willing to accept the responsibility to do that,” Coach Dave Rosenthal said. He had no shortage of hands raised. Nicole Rondeau, Emma Winstead, Rachel Hegeman, Quinn Steigleder, Anna Hausler, Alli Peterson and Brenna Gray accepted the challenge and squared-off one-on-one against Ankeny goalie Nikkie Inskeep with the fate of the Class 3A championship riding on their shoulders.
Following a 2-0 victory the night before against Bettendorf in the 3A semifinal round, West found themselves up against the top-ranked team in the state. They knew it would be a tough assignment.
“We knew it would be their offense and middles against our defense,” said Rosenthal. The Hawkettes outshot West 16-2 in shot-on-goal attempts, but neither team was able to capitalize in regulation time. “I think there were a couple of opportunities where we could’ve gotten in behind them, and done a little better. But credit that whole team. That’s an athletic team, all the way around.”
“It was intense,” Brenna Gray said after the match. “We played our hearts out. It was a great team effort.”
Rondeau opened the shoot out, but Inskeep was able to pick off the shot. Ankeny’s Alyssa Williamson shot way right leaving the match 0-0. Winstead scored, but so did Ankeny’s Allie Rudish. Hegeman scored as did Steigleder, Hausler and Peterson. Unfortunately, the Hawkettes matched the Women of Troy score for score. Gray’s shot went wide right, devastating the junior, who crumpled to the ground in tears. Katherine Young then fired the winning shot for Ankeny for the 1-0 victory and first-ever championship for the Hawkettes.
“We tried everything we could,” Gray said. “We tried as hard as we could to put everything in the back of the net.”
Coach Rosenthal took a philosophical look at the situation as the focus turned to next year.
“I hope the taste is a little bitter and they’ll want to get that taste out of their mouths next year.” With seniors Katie Ranshaw, Erin Manfull, Rondeau and Sarah Moore moving on, Rosenthal hopes to “build on this and take it to another level.”
West finished the 2011 season 19-3, the Hawkettes 21-1. Rondeau and Gray were named to the Class 3A All-Tournament team.