Central DeWitt girls soccer

The Central DeWitt girls soccer team poses after falling to Xavier 9-0 in a regional semifinal June 2, 2021 at Cedar Rapids.

CEDAR RAPIDS — The Sabers were never meant to make it this far.

“I didn’t think at the beginning of the season we thought we’d be here,” Central DeWitt senior Carlee Lincoln said.

That didn’t stop the Central DeWitt girls soccer team from making some noise in the postseason.

Cedar Rapids-Xavier defeated the Sabers 9-0 in a Class 2A Region 7 Semifinal Wednesday at Xavier High School.

Xavier scored four goals in the first half and five in the second to take the win. Xavier will go on to face Mount Vernon in the regional championship Friday at Xavier.

The Sabers end the season 7-12.

“We knew that they play a long searching ball and that they were a really high-pressure team, so we wanted to be a little more connected on the backline,” Central DeWitt coach Tom Portz said. “Obviously, we still left enough gaps that they were able to get through. They are a great-coached team and great athletes.

“What I told the girls is at the beginning of the season, we never thought that we would get to the second round of substate. There’s a lot of teams, like Clinton, that would’ve loved to have been here. A lot of teams lost in that first round and we got here, and at the beginning of the season, nobody thought we’d even get here, so I’m pretty proud of them for doing what they did.”

Sabers’ senior Kathryn Grau said despite the loss, the team wasn’t too upset afterward.

“We’re pretty proud to make it here because in the last few years, we only made it to the first round and lost, so I think it was a victory just to make it here and honestly, we want to end with a positive mindset because we knew they were going to be a good team,” she said.

Portz said the senior class suffered several injuries throughout the year, with one to two players out an any given time. The Sabers graduate 12 seniors: Grau, Lincoln, Rory Maricle, Eve Schmidt, Kylee Postell, Abby Carr, Bella Burken, Morgan Machovec, Madilynn McAvan, Grace Pierce, Maggie McDonough and Talbot Kinney.

Lincoln said the Sabers grew throughout the year.

“I think our team chemistry grew throughout the season and we had fun no matter what the score was,” Lincoln said.

With a lot of young players coming back, Grau said the senior class passed down several important leadership qualities.

“I think they’re going to remember a lot of the closer games that we lost,” Grau said. “They’re going to use that to build on or remember how to finish a game, especially on offense. They had some struggles finishing close to the goal, so I think they’re going to remember losing some games and hopefully build off that next year.”

Lincoln said Central DeWitt girls soccer should be strong next year.

“Since it’s going to be such a young team, they’ll really use our leadership skills since we had so many seniors, and they’ll be a really good team of leaders and know how to work together,” Lincoln said.

Grau said she’ll remember the in-between moments the most.

“We would have fun on the field,” Grau said. “We had a really good game against North Scott and we had fun — we joked with each other. It was more getting to be together and play was my favorite part.”

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