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Women of Troy again denied a championship

West High’s senior keeper Beth Crow makes a grab during the second half of a Class 3A state championship quarterfinal match Thursday, June 12, against Dubuque Hempstead at the Cownie Soccer Park in Des Moines. (photo by Chris Umscheid)

DES MOINES– They stood in a circle, arms around each other, on the sideline for one last time. The trophy they’d just been presented sat alone behind them, an uninvited tag-along. It wasn’t what they came to Des Moines and the Cownie Soccer Park for.
It said, “2014 Soccer State Participant.”
They wanted to bring home one that instead said “2014 Soccer State Champion.”
“This is not the way any season you play in is supposed to end,” an emotional coach Dave Rosenthal told his West High Women of Troy following a 2-0 loss to Dubuque Hempstead in a Class 3A state championship quarterfinal match Thursday, June 12.
“It’ll sting a bit. Let it sting,” he said.
The Women of Troy, in their 13th overall and fourth consecutive state appearance brought a 16-3 record to the contest with Hempstead, which was 16-2.
The teams had met on the pitch in early May in Iowa City with West pulling out a 2-1 win.
This time however, things did not go as well for West.
The Mustangs struck twice in 90 seconds in the first half, putting in a goal 20 minutes in, then following up with another shortly after.
Rosenthal gave a post-mortem analysis. “They got two goals and the game changed quite a bit. They were pushing, they were pushing forward, and I just don’t feel we were pushing back enough on those two goals.”
He added, “We certainly are capable of that and I felt like we were a little bit flat-footed defensively on a couple of those where we needed to be a little bit more aggressive coming out, and let’s make sure we get that ball out and we go counterattack.”
His ladies had their chances however. “We were pressuring, we were pressuring, we were pressuring. I thought if we could get one (goal) the first 15 minutes of the second half, I think it would have been a completely different game. We gave it our best, they just counterpunched.”
The problem for West was a determined Hempstead defense. “I tell you, their defense was incredible. It felt like they were everywhere defensively,” Rosenthal said. “Hempstead came out and played very, very hard.”
Rosenthal, with 19 years of coaching at West High, said, “There was something incredibly special about this group.” They were, he said to them, the best team he’s ever coached. “Beth Crow (keeper), leads from the back, she’s a quiet person, but boy… some of the stuff she does in the back lets us go. Meredith Arpey (midfield) does some great stuff for us on the left-hand side. Eleni Katz (midfield), she’s got incredible potential on the right-hand side. She’s very deceptive putting balls in very dangerous places. Then, you’ve got Ali Peterson (midfield) and Anna Hausler (midfield). Those two, every single time you ask them to do something, they would do it. We (coaching staff) leave it to them to talk to the girls about it, because they know what triggers to push and what to do to get them motivated, and keep them positive. They lead by example on the field.”
Rosenthal said his players lead off the field as well.
“Their character, on top of their soccer ability… second to none.”