Washington Evening Journal
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Washington, IA 52353
MT. PLEASANT — An adventurous Mt. Pleasant girls soccer season that saw a new coach, an eight-game winning streak and a Southeast Conference championship came to an unceremonious end on Friday at the hands of Burlington-Notre Dame.
The visiting Nikes, which were ranked as high as 14th in the Class 2A girls soccer poll, came in hungry and left with a dominant victory, knocking out the Panthers 8-0.
“They have really good coaches, and they’re used to playing together year-round,” said Mt. Pleasant head coach Auybriana Johnson. “They’re a hard team to beat.”
The Panthers had a few offensive chances at the beginning of the game, but Notre Dame raced down the field to score on a cross with 31:30 to goal. That would be the first of five for Notre Dame in the first half.
Elly Manning had a shot to tie the game shortly after the opening Nike goal, but her long attempt was saved by Nike keeper Ava Rashid.
Notre Dame scored its first three goals in a less than 10-minute span. The Nikes scored a goal with 28:26 left in the half and another with 23:17 on the clock to take a 3-0 lead.
Panther goalkeeper Emma Pieper helped slow down the bleeding with a big save just a few minutes later. With 20:10 left in the first half, Pieper made a leaping stop to keep the game at 3-0.
Notre Dame scored two goals in the final 15 minutes of the first half. The second half was scoreless for nearly 20 minutes, but the Nikes eventually added three more to end the Panthers’ 2021 season.
“This is a great group of girls, and I’m lucky to be able to have them,” said Johnson, who stepped in to coach the Panthers this year while Scott Stribe is overseas. “They’re kind, compassionate and work well together. They come to practice and just make it enjoyable. ”
Under Johnson’s first season, the Panthers won their first eight games en route to a 9-2 regular season. Mt. Pleasant won the Southeast Conference championship with a 7-1 mark.
“I didn’t even know what I was getting myself into,” Johnson said. “I had no idea how much potential these girls had. I loved every minute of it.”