D-NH girls soccer downs Denver for 1st state trip

Becca Jorgensen (12) runs over to D-NH fans with the Wolverines' state-qualifier banner after a 2-1 regional final victory over Denver on Thursday. (Jake Ryder photo)

NEW HARTFORD – The last six minutes of Thursday's girls soccer regional final between Dike-New Hartford and Denver were an eternity for Sophia Hoffmann.

On the same play that resulted in Myia Rosecrans cutting D-NH's lead to 2-1, the D-NH senior went down and had to be helped off the field after what she assumed was incidental contact between her and a Denver player's knees.

The aggressive, headstrong senior who has factored in to so much of the Wolverines' short history on the soccer pitch was going to have to watch her teammates try to outlast Denver the rest of the way.

"That was really tough for me," Hoffmann said. "I've always been in those last-minute moments, those tight moments. There were moments that I was just clutching on to [athletic trainer] Kayla [Hutton], because you never know what's going to happen.

"But I trusted in my teammates to pull the win out."

That trust was well-placed, and the Wolverines held off the hard-charging Cyclones to clinch their first-ever state berth in girls soccer, 2-1 winners over Denver at Simons Field in New Hartford on Thursday, May 26.

The Wolverines battled Underwood at 10:45 a.m. on Tuesday, May 31 in a Class 1A state quarterfinal matchup that started after this issue went to press.

"We made sure we rallied around each other after Hoff went down," D-NH head coach Kat Bering said. "We're always working together and rewarding each other for our efforts. We knew we had to step it up and everyone stepped it up another notch."

Dike-New Hartford built a 2-0 lead on the back of two goals from junior dynamo Camille Landphair, increasing her total this season to 58 total goals. She recently passed the 100-goal mark for her career in a 6-1 victory over Grundy Center/Gladbrook-Reinbeck on Tuesday, May 24.

The Cyclones were not typically far behind, though, and in the second half especially were able to close off D-NH's offensive prowess.

But with history on the line, the Wolverines couldn't afford to be rattled.

"We just wanted to play how we've been playing, how we've normally played, and we didn't want Denver to affect our style of play," Landphair said. "[After the Denver goal] I told everyone to keep their heads up, and that we needed to play with confidence."

The win also showcased D-NH's defensive capabilities in crunch time, including work from Miranda Tyler in net who, aside from the Rosecrans goal that was perfectly placed out of Tyler's reach, was stout in between the posts.

"She's a rock back there, a big brick in our wall," Bering said. "She comes out with the big stops when it's necessary and sweeps up everything so that our defense knows that we have that back behind us. Knowing we can count on her is huge."

Thursday's win is the culmination of three years of work that began in 2020 when Dike-New Hartford opted to separate from a sharing agreement with Hudson - but that Wolverine team never got a chance to take the field due to the COVID-19 pandemic wiping out spring sports.

The 2021 campaign ended in the regional final against Des Moines Christian and set the stage for this focused run that sends the Wolverines into state as the third-ranked team in Class 1A.

"This has been one of our goals since we started," said D-NH senior Becca Jorgensen, one of three senior captains on the team in addition to Hoffmann and Lexie Fager. "It's pretty cool, because I grew up with these girls, and it's fun to be able to get to state with them. Everyone has been supportive, even the girls on the bench have been cheering us on since day one, and it's been a lot of fun."

Fager, like many athletes on this team, have seen this level of success in other sports. But it's exciting to look at it from the soccer perspective.

"We're going to get everybody pumped up and ready to go," Fager said. "Work hard in practice and just try to finish strong."


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