BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
DAVENPORT – Holy Trinity Catholic’s head girls soccer coach Michael Sheerin said his team would need everything to go right to knock off top-ranked Davenport Assumption Friday in Class 1A substate.
They didn’t get everything to go right as a quick and physical Knights team shut out the Crusaders 6-0 to end the season for the blue and white.
But a lot did go right for the young squad even though they didn’t spend a lot of time on offense as Assumption’s defense was quickly pushing the ball back over the midfield line for most of the night.
The closest the Crusaders came to scoring was in the waning minutes when they were able to take advantage of the east side of the field and move down with a couple of throw ins and push to the right side of the goal and had one shot that went off the bar. On the night, the Crusaders only had six shots and two shots on goal.
On the other end, senior Avery Malinski was kept busy most of the night and had showed some of her best tending all season. At one point late into the second half with HTC trailing 5-0, Malinski was facing a penalty kick and called the right path, the ball hit her outstretched glove and just barely spun over the goal line never making it into the net.
“I just think we wanted to show them that we were more of a team than people expected us to be,” Malinski said after the game. “I wanted to come out and play hard and if this was to be our last game, I wanted to make sure we gave everything and I think we did.”
The Knights got on the board quickly in the first quarter with only about three minutes gone. Assumption pushed the ball through the center of the field through HTC defenders and a soft roll by the Knight’s Carly King rolled softly under Malinski as she dove for the save. Thirteen minutes later, the Knights scored again to Malinski’s left on a one-on-one break.
“We gave up the first two goals out of nervousness,” Sheerin said. “But I give these girls a lot of credit. We started five freshmen against one of the best teams in the state. If we would just catch a break in the rankings and seed our way out that way, it would be great to have a shot at state….just get a crack at it. That’s not an excuse, it’s just the way it goes.”
The Knights came into the game 14-2 with their only losses coming at the hands of North Scott 3-0, and Bettendorf 1-0.
Assumption’s offense kept rolling with a third goal at the 18-minute mark and then Malinski came out to challenge junior Molly Gervase at about 10 feet and Gervase was able to shoot past Malinski for a 4-0 lead with 14:22 left in the half. The Crusaders would hold off any additional scoring in the first half. Senior Ali Randolph, one of HTC’s top scorers, left the game for about five minutes in the first half to regroup.
“Ali just ran herself out of the game, gave everything she had and had to come out a bit,” Sheerin said.
The second half continued to see the Crusaders trying to fight out of the Knights’ end of the field and Malinski kept racking up the saves and challenged the Assumption scoring threats sometimes as far out as 20 feet from goal.
“Avery did just a fantastic job. Some of those saves, my golly, even the PK (penalty kick) God-almighty, it just barely rolled in,” Sheerin said.
He also credited Maya Rashid with keeping her composure and continuing to move the ball on offense.
“They definitely play a low game and a quick game. They run and pass low. They gave us really good competition and I’m thankful for that because it will make us better all around. Honestly, the competition was awesome. We play with our hearts and we play with a lot of pride,” Rashid said.
“I was very proud of our team. We all worked very hard and I’m super stoked for next year.”