Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – There was no way for West High senior Kenadee Showalter to sugarcoat it. The two-week, four-match losing skid that the Trojans endured last month was rough.
“It was mentally draining and hard to keep our heads up but we had to push through and know that it’s not always going to be like that,” Showalter said. “We knew we’d get through it, we played some really hard teams but we did a good job of staying positive.”
West High lost consecutive matches to four ranked teams by a combined score of 24 in April going 14 days between wins.
For a proud program like West High the stretch was tough but it has proven to be productive.
West High has responded to the four-match losing streak with four consecutive wins after an impressive 7-3 win over Class 3A No. 15 Dubuque Hempstead (8-5) on Tuesday evening at Barker Field in Iowa City.
“I think we definitely saw during that stretch the areas where we needed to improve,” West High senior defender Anna Verry said. “We knew where we had to get better after those games.”
West High lost to top-15 teams City High, Linn-Mar, Pleasant Valley and Bettendorf in consecutive matches by a combined score of 24-4.
The four consecutive losses left West High 2-5 on the season.
Rather than panic, West High has regrouped.
“We were a little disconnected throughout the middle of the season but we are trying to work more as a team instead of individuals,” West High senior midfielder Jada Dachtler said. “We talked about how to work better as a team and that communication before and after games has helped.”
Since the 0-4 stretch it has been a different looking West High.
The Trojans snapped the skid with an 8-1 win over Cedar Rapids Kennedy on April 26 and haven’t slowed down since.
During its current four-match winning streak West High has outscored opponents 21-4 after its 7-3 win over Hempstead on Tuesday.
“I told them today we have to play like we did against Kennedy, you have to step it up and do the types of things that you can do and they did,” Rosenthal said. “They played the same if not better than the way they played against Kennedy. Hempstead is a good team.”
West High (6-5) opened with a bang on Tuesday as senior Mattie Harms gave the Trojans the lead less than a minute into the match with a goal off a Serene Hamzeh assist.
Hempstead pulled even at 1-1 but West High took a 2-1 lead into halftime after Showalter redirected an Emma Potthoff pass for a goal with 24:58 remaining in the first half.
“We work better together the more time that we spend together, the more we get to know each other on and off the field,” Showalter said. “When you play with people on the field you need to know them as people not just as teammates.”
West High exploded offensively after halftime.
Showalter scored her second goal on a breakaway in the 46th minute and LuLu Nelson scored the first of her two second-half goals less than four minutes later to make it 4-1 Trojans.
“I tend to start slowly to figure out what system works best for our team,” veteran West High coach Dave Rosenthal said. “We are doing a slightly different system this year and it took me a long time to figure out what was best and who to put where and we found it.”
Dachtler scored twice in the final 2:39 as West High scored five times in the final 35 minutes.
“During halftime Dave just talked about how we needed to keep doing what we were doing,” Dachtler said. “We just had to keep working together and we’d get a few more goals.”
The seven goals on Tuesday marked the third time during the Trojans’ four-match winning streak they have scored at least five goals.
It was also the second highest scoring output of the season for West High following the eight-goal effort against Cedar Rapids Kennedy.
“It boosts our confidence a lot,” Showalter said. “Right before regionals I think we needed a win like this to get us going.”
West High will put its four-match win streak on the line Thursday against Class 2A eighth-ranked North Scott before road contests at Cedar Rapids Jefferson on Friday and Class 2A fourth-ranked Cedar Rapids Xavier on Tuesday to close out the regular season.
The Trojans open postseason play May 20 at Davenport Central.
“I schedule hard games because I want them to know where we need to be to give us a shot at the end of the season,” Rosenthal said. “We have North Scott on Thursday, Jefferson on Friday and then Xavier for the conference championship if we win out. That’s where we want to be. That’s the best we can do right now and then we go on and play our postseason schedule which is challenging. I told the girls if they play like this they have a shot.”