Home Sports Le Mars Girls Soccer Wins Emotional Season-Opener in Overtime over SB-L

Le Mars Girls Soccer Wins Emotional Season-Opener in Overtime over SB-L

The Le Mars Community girls soccer team’s 2024 season got off to an unimaginable start before they even stepped on the pitch following the unexpected death of their head coach Nikki Green. Two and a half weeks later, the Bulldogs opened their season with a dramatic 5-4 overtime win at home over Sergeant Bluff-Luton.

Kayla Koopman had to take over the Bulldog program following Green’s passing. She says the girls have shown some toughness over the last couple of weeks in continuing to come to practice and put forth their work.

Zoe Wittkop is one of many senior leaders on the roster for the Bulldogs. She says the players have grown closer and become more like a family these last couple of weeks.

Wittkop says all the lead up plus some changes to positions for her teammates led to some first-game jitters to start the season.

It was a game that saw both teams end up with their fair share of opportunities to score. The Bulldogs started the game off with a Sarah Brown goal that was followed by two Warrior goals. Zoe Wittkop ended the first half with a goal to tie things up at the break. The Warriors started the second half with two more goals, and it was looking rough for the Bulldogs late in the game. With 14 minutes to go in the second half, Grace Van Otterloo found the back of the net to make it a one-goal game. Coach Koopman says it was important to have multiple players who could score.

As the game was winding down, Le Mars could not find the equalizer until a late push. With time winding down, the Bulldogs got on a run at the net that saw Wittkop possess the ball in the box. A Warrior tackle came in hard and penalized her giving her an opportunity to tie the game with a penalty kick with just five seconds left on the clock. Wittkop had been dealing with cramping throughout the game, but she pushed through to get the match to extra time.

In overtime, it was Wittkop again with the ball on a breakaway going uncontested at the keeper. Using prior experience in the game of missing an opportunity like this, Wittkop made an adjustment and it allowed her to score the game-winning golden goal three minutes into overtime.

Dealing with the cramping and everything else, Wittkop stayed on the pitch for the entire match. Coach Koopman says she continues to show her toughness every time she is on the field.

The Bulldogs start the season with a 1-0 record but were far from perfect to start the season. Due to some players in new spots, the defense gave up its fair share of prime scoring opportunities. Coach Koopman says that will be the main thing that needs addressing before a busy end to the week.

The Bulldogs end the week with a pair of games going to Okoboji on Thursday, April 4 for a matchup with Spirit Lake Park/Okoboji. They will end the week on Friday, April 5 at home against Sioux Center.