TIFFIN - All good things must come to an end.
Washington High School had not seen a season like the 2019 Demons girls soccer campaign in the past 10 years at a minimum.
The Demons won as many games this year as the last five seasons combined.
Alas, they did finish with a losing record at 8-9 after losing to Clear Creek-Amana in a Class 2A Region 3 match. CCA (13-4) advances to play at Bondurant-Farrar (10-7) Tuesday.
The previous Demon season ended on a 10-0 mercy rule loss to Mt. Vernon, the second mercy rule loss of the year. There were five mercy rule losses the previous season, six the season before that.
Granted, Thursday’s season-ending loss was the worst of the year, falling to the home team 8-0, but there was no mercy rule defeat anywhere on the ledger. That is something that has happened at least twice in all but one of the previous nine seasons and they did suffer a 10-0 defeat in that year.
“At least we didn’t get mercy ruled like last year,” said Washington coach Protacio Marcelino, who ends his first season at the helm. He was an assitant last year. “I’m happy for the girls.”
The best record in the last 10 years for Washington was 6-9 in 2012.
“The improvement in the program was evident,” said CCA coach Matt Harding, who was so concerned with the Demons improvement that he had scouted one of their games.
“They certainly caught our attention when they beat Mt. Pleasant,” he said. “We were really focused on the danger that they could present. I watched them play and that was helpful to see what girls like Greta Rothe and Trina Griffin could do.”
Those two Demons were not the only standouts to the CCA coach.
“The goalkeeper plays really well,” he said of Olivia Pacha. “She is a colossus in goal. She looks like she is 6-foot-5.”
Pacha stopped a number of shots Thursday as the Clippers had five corner kicks in the first six minutes of the match.
CCA finally found the net with 23 minutes, 35 seconds remaining in the first half, then blasted another one 30 seconds later. A nice execution of a give-and-go made it 3-0 with 18:05 to go until intermission.
The Clippers would substitute four to five players at a time and the fresh legs helped them build a 5-0 lead by halftime.
“Early on a lot of our shots were in the air and Pacha got them herself, so we tried to get our girls to finish lower,” Harding said.
The field was wider than the Demons were used to and it was a turf field, which Washiungton had only played on in the first game of the year, a 3-0 loss at Iowa City Liberty.
“We are not used to playing on the turf,” Marcelino said. “It is really different. The ball bounces different and rolls faster.”
“Sometimes when teams come up from the southern counties, they haven’t seen the turf and it takes them 40 minutes of play to get used to it,” Harding said. “That is a definite advantage we had. It’s hard to get used to the bounce and the way the ball runs.”
Of course a home field advantage is only as good as the talent playing on it.
“They were good players on a very good team,” Marcelino said of CCA. “They had a lot of movement, more than we have seen. I think they work fast very well.”
“I think the Washington girls should hold her head high for the season they put together,” Harding said. “My understanding is they have a lot returning next year.”
Washington has no seniors.
“That’s fantastic for them,” Harding said.
“We tried our best,” Marcelino said. “We did some different things. I have seen a lot of improvement from my team this year. Next year, we will be even better. All we can do is keep practicing and trying harder. We will be better.”
Harding saw some similiarities in the Demons and his team from last season.
“We lost 11-1 at Cedar Rapids Xavier and that was very motivating for us,” he said. “I was worried what that would do to our program. We had never been mercy ruled before. The girls had a lot of commitment in the off-season. We took advantage of some lessons we learned last year. I can see Washington doing that because it is kind of a mirror to what we had last year. It was impressive to see the way they were connecting passes. I had not seen that from them before. We had not played them for a couple years, but the skill level that they had tonight was evident. It is impressive to see the improvement.”