Behind sophomore Sydney Luedeman’s hat trick, the Waterloo High girls soccer team beat Marion 6-0 on Friday in the Class 2A Marion Regional championship game.
It’s the Bulldogs first regional title since 2009.
“We had been working real hard to get this far,” Luedeman said. “This season has been a challenge, so we practiced a long time for this game and came out in the first half really hard.”
Waterloo (17-3-3) extended its unbeaten streak to seven games and will play the winner of Rochester and Chatham Glenwood in the semifinals of the Triad Sectional at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
“We feel we have a team that can possess the ball a lot and we used that to our advantage because this field is perfect for that style of play,” said Waterloo coach Chad Holden. “We switched the field well, switched the point of attack.
“But the big part was getting off to a good start. We tell the girls come out hard and try to get them early ones to make the other team lose confidence. That’s what we’ve been doing the last few games and it’s been working great.”
The Bulldogs scored three goals in the first 15 minutes and held the high-scoring Wildcats to just one shot in the first half and one late in the second half.
“We played more back in a 4-2-3-1, so we had more defenders back at the beginning of the game,” Luedeman said. “As soon as we started scoring, we started playing more up.”
Sophomore goalkeeper Bailey Bosler posted her 18th shutout of the season, 12 of them shared. Hillary Kaniecki replaced her with 17:16 left in the one-sided game.
“The first and second goals were definitely preventable, and when you find yourself in a deficit against a good team, it’s tough to come back,” Marion coach Jared Dobbs said.
Waterloo took the lead for good at 4 minutes, 51 seconds when junior Mollie Zeisset’s corner kick went to senior Erika Lloyd for a header that was rejected by Wildcats keeper Maria Chairez. But the rebound came back out and sophomore Sydney Bockhorn blasted it right past her for her seventh goal of the season and third game-winning goal.
“It was a bouncing around and it came out to me,” Bockhorn said. “There was a girl running at me, so I just put my head down and struck. We could feel that it took the wind out of their sails, so we started to gain momentum and kept scoring.”
Luedeman was coming off a five-goal performance in the semifinal win over Herrin, and scored her first goal 3:40 later. Lloyd fed her a perfect pass as she broke past a defender at the top of the box and beat Chairez to her right. With 25:38 remaining in the first half, Lloyd notched her 16th goal of the season on a high shot from the middle just inside the box.
With 2:46 remaining before intermission, Luedeman scored again on a rebound of her own shot to give the Bulldogs a 4-0 lead at the half.
Sophomore Emma Novack made it 5-0 eight minutes into the second half, with her second goal of the season. Luedeman scored her third goal with 29:38 remaining in the game off another pass from Lloyd.