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Soccer: Lady Dawgs win conference titleTell North Platte what you think
 
Photo by Leland Poppe
Kaysee Lewis handles the ball
Photo by Leland Poppe
Team captains Marisa Martinez and Maggie Bianco celebrate a goal by Anna Allberry, No. 9. The goal was a direct kick just past midfield.
Photo by Leland Poppe
Allison Kuenle, at left, joins Morgan Hansen and Anna Allberry in celebration.
Photo by Leland Poppe
Triumph

KEARNEY-For the second straight year, the North Platte High School girls' soccer team won the Greater Nebraska Athletic Conference championship on Saturday.

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In the finals, the Lady Dawgs beat Kearney 4-2 in a battle of unbeaten teams.

Before beating the Bearcats, the No. 9-ranked Lady Bulldogs beat Class B No. 6 Hastings 1-0 in the semifinals. Like Kearney, Hastings was also undefeated before facing NPHS in the GNAC. The Tigers finished third in the tournament after losing to the Bulldogs by beating Norfolk 2-1 in a shootout.

On Friday, North Platte, who went in as the No. 2 seed, beat Scottsbluff 8-1 in the first round to open the tournament.

The three victories in the GNAC gives NPHS a 7-0 record. They are ranked No. 2 in the NSAA power point standings for Class A behind Omaha Marian.

The North Platte High School girls' soccer team is off to its best start since 2005.

In that season eight years ago, the Lady Bulldogs won their first eight games on their way to earning the top seed in the state tournament.

At state, NPHS beat Omaha Central in the first round before falling in the semifinals to eventual state champion Lincoln Southeast.

While the 2013 Lady Dawgs have some work to do to reach the same heights as that team, Coach Sarah Kaminski says she likes what she has seen from the current group.

"The girls are playing well together and they have a good attitude and work ethic," said Kaminski, who was an assistant under Janie McCarthy for that 2005 North Platte team.

In recent years, North Platte has faced a stiff test from Lincoln Southeast in either its second or third game of the year.

Southeast is one of the best teams in Class A year in and year out. The Knights have only missed the state tournament once since 1997.

They have also been a major road block for the Bulldogs. In 2005, NPHS beat Southeast 1-0 but since then, the series had been dominated by the Lady Knights.

Until this year, when NPHS finally defeated Southeast 2-1 in a shootout on March 26.

"The Lincoln Southeast win was a big win for us," Kaminski said. "It was a big confidence booster. It opened the girls eyes to see how good they could be."

The shootout victory over Southeast showed that the 2013 Lady Dawg team shared one trait that their predecessors from eight years ago had, which was a high level of confidence.

In both years, the Bulldogs weren't intimidated by the Knights and that was the key factor in both wins.

"It was just a true team victory," said Kaminski. "They supported each other throughout it and I think their hard work prevailed over Southeast. They gave each other confidence. They had their minds set on a goal and they got the job done. It was just a well-earned game."


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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 4/8/2013
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