DES MOINES — Julia Reed felt partially responsible for letting a lead slip away, but she never panicked.
The Waverly-Shell Rock sophomore quickly responded by breaking open the floodgates during Thursday’s first-round match in the Class 2A girls’ state soccer tournament at Cownie Soccer Complex.
Reed scored the first of three Go-Hawk goals over the final 30 minutes of a 4-1 win against West Burlington Notre Dame.
As a result, No. 2-seed Waverly-Shell Rock (19-0) remains the state’s only unbeaten team. The Go-Hawks will face No. 3 Pella, a 2-0 winner over Cedar Rapids Xavier, at 1:45 p.m. Friday in the program’s second semifinal over the past three seasons. W-SR beat Pella 3-1 during a tournament on April 21 in Adel.
For Julia Reed, the go-ahead strike marked her first goal of the season. It traveled inside the left post off Kenzie Roling’s centering pass and came just four minutes after Notre Dame (12-5) tied the score on a 30-yard rip from Kate Luers that snuck under the crossbar.
“I missed a ball that let her shoot it,” Reed said of Luers’ equalizer. “We were all very excited that we got the goal back. It was something that we were working for because we knew once they tied we needed to fight and we needed to win it. We had to do it.”
Reed is part of youthful wave of contributors who have quickly found comfort on the state tournament stage. Roling, a freshman who ranks among Class 2A’s top four in goals scored, followed her assist by taking a pass from Kennedy Rieken and depositing it into the net in the 56th minute. Julia Reed’s twin sister, Makayla Reed, added the final goal in the 78th minute.
“I was pretty determined,” said Roling, who now has 31 goals and 13 assists. “I just knew that I need to do this for my team and for all the seniors. That motivated me.”
As for getting on the board with her first state tournament goal in as many games, Roling added, “It’s a pretty big confidence booster, but I’m always searching for more.”
While Waverly-Shell Rock’s fluid passing combinations helped produce a 39-5 advantage in shots, it was surprising to see a tied score 47 minutes into the match.
“We did a good job of connecting and finding feet,” W-SR coach Lauren Bauer said. “We won 50-50 balls very well today. We knew that was going to be a huge factor, especially with their speed up top. We created a ton of opportunities, we finished a few, but at the end of the day we’d like to finish a few more of those.”
Bauer credited her team’s poise as a key to finally breaking through.
“I think we’re pretty patient,” the W-SR coach added. “We know that when we do possess well that opportunities will come. The floodgates opened, we had opportunity after opportunity. We just didn’t capitalize on them until later in the game.”
Sparking Waverly-Shell Rock early was senior Sarah Campbell’s scoring strike in the 24th minute. Campbell then dropped back on defense and often prevented Notre Dame from connecting on through ball attempts. Her strong leg from the midfield was also a valuable piece of the Go-Hawk attack.
“Sarah is a very versatile player,” Bauer said. “That’s something that’s special about her. ... Wherever we put her, she finds her stride.”
A blend of promising youth and veteran leadership has produced a z team that may be as balanced and dangerous as any of the program’s 13 state-qualifying squads.
“We’re very hungry,” Julia Reed said. “We know we want it. We’re here, we are ready to work and we’re willing to do whatever it takes. We’re not backing down.”