Against all odds: Cougars win title


Ethan Divis

As the seven seed in the tournament, you’re not supposed to win the first game. Let alone the whole tournament. Don’t tell that to the Cougars.

The Kennedy Cougars women’s soccer team capped off an incredible state tournament run by defeating the Ankeny Hawkettes 2-1 in stunning fashion in the championship game.

“It was great, it was really exciting to finish what we started,” senior goalkeeper Allie Hutcheson said. “We had a lot of people doubting us and just to show everyone we could do what they thought was impossible was great.”

The Cougars also upset Iowa City West and Bentendorf to get to the title game.

“At the beginning of the tournament we only believed in ourselves and proving everyone wrong felt really great,” Kaela Dickerman, so., said.

The Cougars were trailing the Hawkettes until sophomore Annie Feltes played a ball into the box which rolled free and sophomore Kaela Dickerman capitalized with a goal. You could immediately feel the momentum change and only a minute later Feltes played another great ball and senior Hannah Palomo rolled her shot past the keeper to stun Ankeny and give the Cougars the 2-1 lead which they held the rest of the way.

“To score two goals in 65 seconds, I don’t think anyone thought the script was going to unfold that way. It did and we felt great about it,” head coach Andrew McKnight said. The Cougars only allowed one goal all tournament, the defense was led by captain Mackenzie Stump.

The Ankeny Hawkettes came into the game on a 31 game winning streak and were ranked 3rd in the nation by ESPN as of June 3, that didn’t stop the Cougars from capturing the state title.

“The pressure was so much on them coming in hasn’t lost in two years,” McKnight said. “(We) have been underestimated all year. You’re supposed to improve as the season goes on, you’re supposed to peak come state tournament time. It was very satisfying to come and play the way we know how and I’m glad it just happened that way.”

This is the Cougars’ second state title in four years.

“We knew that with the heart that we we’re playing with we could out shine their ability,” Hutcheson said.

Quite possibly the scariest part about this team is that they are extremely young.  “Honestly I just think we’re going to have a pretty great team moving forward. The seniors we’re great and we love them all but we’re just going to be really powerful in the future too,” Dickerman said.

Kaela Dickerman, Allie Hutcheson, Tory Harman and Hannah Palomo were named to the 3A all-tournament team. Dickerman was named team captain.