DES MOINES — Kenzie Roling possesses one of the most lethal right foots in the state.
Her left foot isn’t bad either.
Roling delivered with her left foot to connect on Waverly-Shell Rock’s biggest goal of the season.
Her clutch goal midway through the second half propelled the No. 2 Go-Hawks past No. 3 Dallas Center-Grimes 1-0 in a Class 2A state girls’ soccer semifinal Friday afternoon at Cownie Soccer Park.
“Kenzie really came through for us again,” W-SR coach Lauren Greiner said. “She has a great shot and she had another big goal for us. She was able to finish at a big moment again for her team.”
Waverly-Shell Rock, second in the state last year, achieved one of its goals by advancing back into the state championship match.
Now the Go-Hawks (17-1) hope to finish their season-long quest when they battle No. 5 Cedar Rapids Xavier (16-4) in the state finals Saturday afternoon at 12:30.Waverly-Shell Rock advanced to face Cedar Rapids Xavier, the Go-Hawks fell 3-2 to in its second match of the season, but hasn’t lost since. The Go-Hawks have won 16 straight matches.
Roling, an all-state sophomore who has committed to the University of Iowa, drew her share of attention from the stingy Dallas Center-Grimes defense.
The Fillies employed double- and triple-team coverage on Roling the entire match.
But Roling finally found an opening in front of the net, drilling a shot that caromed off the crossbar and into the goal to give W-SR a 1-0 lead with 17:38 left.
“I beat the first defender and then I saw the second one and I was thinking about hitting it with my right foot,” Roling said. “But at the last minute, the defender moved and I cut it back and I hit it with my left foot. Our coaches told us to keep going and keep pushing and the ball would eventually go in.”
The Go-Hawks held off several Dallas Center-Grimes shots in the first half before taking control in the second half with the wind at their backs.
Roling’s goal was her 38th of the season and her second straight game-winner in as many days at the state tournament.
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Roling scored in double-overtime of Waverly-Shell Rock’s dramatic 2-1 win over defending state champion Lewis Central on Thursday.
“We’re fortunate that we have a lot of versatility all across the field,” Greiner said. “We have a lot of talented players, so when they’re bringing numbers toward Kenzie she’s still good at distributing and finding the other girls. She can score, but she can also create opportunities for her teammates.”
The Go-Hawks survived for the second straight day while playing in hot and humid conditions with temperatures soaring into the upper 80s.
“It’s extremely tough, there is no denying that,” Greiner said. “The girls have done it before and they’ve played a lot of soccer. We will go back and get rested, and be ready for tomorrow.”
Waverly-Shell Rock goalkeeper Gabby Burman was superb once again while pitching another shutout.
“I know my defense is always going to come back to help me,” said Burman, a junior. “I know they’re going to be behind me every time. It gives me a lot of confidence to have them playing so well in front of me. We just followed our game plan and played really well as a team.”
The Go-Hawks posted their 14th shutout of the season. W-SR has allowed just six goals in 18 matches this spring.
“Our defense did an excellent job,” Greiner said. “They were very composed. They kept their heads and kept their cool.”
W-SR’s offense stayed aggressive on Friday, even after taking the lead.
“It was definitely a little stressful there at the end, but our girls stuck to our game plan,” Greiner said. “We continued to move the ball forward and we continued to attack. They know better than to just pack it in and let them come at us. We did an excellent job of moving forward and playing our game.”
Now comes a third straight match in three days, this time against a strong Xavier squad.
“We’re really excited about it,” Greiner said. “We saw Xavier the second game of the season. We didn’t necessarily play our best game, but I also think we’ve grown a lot since then. We’ve come a long, long way. We’re finally starting to click and we’re working really well together as a team.”
“We just need to come out ready to go,” Roling said. “The first time we played Xavier we definitely had a rough start. We’ve played for a state championship before and we know what to expect. We’re excited – we will be ready to go.”