BATTLE CREEK – “When she is on, the rest of us are on.”
Zeeland West coach Ben Hondorp summed up the impact that midfielder Abby Winn has on the field for the Dux.
And on Friday, Winn was on – and so were the Dux.
Winn scored twice in the Division 2 regional semifinals to lead the Dux to a 2-1 win over St. Joseph.
“After winning districts, we know how good of a team we are. The more we play together, it just gets better and better,” Winn said. “At the beginning of this season, I never would have thought we could get this far.”
The Dux (14-2-2) avenged an earlier 1-0 loss to St. Joseph, one of just two on the season, and will face Gull Lake in Friday’s regional final.
“We have 11 kids that have been in our program for four years. They have seen success in the past, getting to a certain point and not being able to push through, but with their commitment and tenacity (we continue to advance),” Hondorp said. “These kids just don’t want to lose. We talk about family … a lot of teams talk about family, but these kids are living it.”
Winn scored midway through the first half on a penalty kick after St. Joseph was called for a handball in the box.
“The PK was a huge confidence booster. It raised my confidence and got the team going, too,” Winn said.
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The Dux started putting together chance after chance and finally got another goal when Winn found the back of the next with just 15 seconds to go before halftime.
“There wasn’t much time left on the clock, maybe 30 seconds, I know Bella is capable of getting it behind. She chipped it and I thought their goalie was going to come out, but she didn’t and I was able to get around their center back and knock it in, “Winn said.
Winn continued to attack and put several balls in perfect spots for her teammates to create even more scoring chances from Marissa Ybarra and the rest of the Dux front line.
“She is a very versatile player. She has played a lot of soccer at a really high level. For her club team, she plays a different position, than she does for us, so with her vision and soccer IQ she is a very difficult person to gameplan against. She distributes the ball really well and finishes really well, but she is also one of the emotional leaders on our team, “Hondorp said. “When she is on, the rest of us are on.”
Goalie Grace Caywood and the Dux defense proved to be strong once again. Caywood made a handful of diving saves to keep the Dux in front.
“Grace and our defense played really well,” Hondorp said. “St. Joseph has a playmaker in the middle and Riley Terpstra did a really good job of taking away their distributer and frustrating her. Our back row was solid the entire game.”
– Contact Sports Editor Dan D’Addona at Dan.D’Addona@hollandsentinel.com. Follow him on Twitter @DanDAddona and Facebook @Holland Sentinel Sports.