The Lady Bulldogs were back at practice on Friday, getting ready for a game in the State Soccer Tournament next Wednesday.
North Platte earned the wild card berth into the eight-team tournament and is the sixth seed. The Lady Bulldogs open the tournament against Lincoln Southeast, a team that defeated North Platte 6-2 early in the season.
“We were with them,” said North Platte head coach Sarah Kaminski. “We were tied 2-2 at halftime and they just beat us on the transitions.
“It’s good we’re starting with a team we’ve faced before. We know we can compete with them.”
Kaminski believes her team is much improved since facing Southeast early in the season.
“One of the areas we’ve improved on greatly is the transition from offense to defense and back,” she said. “We’ve grown with our skills and are better at keeping control of the ball.
“We know it won’t be easy and we’re going to have to play a complete game.”
Kaminski said the Lady Bulldogs have been a team all season and it wasn’t hard for them to get back to work after a tough shootout loss to Lincoln Southwest in the A-5 District Final on Wednesday.
“These girls are amazing,” the coach said. “They shake off a loss, shake off a bad pass, It’s very defining of their character.
“We stress having fun. It’s supposed to be fun and we stress that each and every day.”
For Kaminski, getting to the state tournament is good, but now the work can pay off.
“Once you’re there, anything can happen,” she said. “We’re going up there to win, to have fun, to show we belong.
“This is what we’ve worked hard for all season and there’s no reason we can’t pull together and win again. We’ve done it after each loss this season, but each of the team’s at state will be tough. We know it will take a complete game to get each win, but we can do it.”
After a roller coaster of emotions, Kaminski said it was a good day of practice.
“These girls work hard,” she said. “Their efforts to work together, as a team, has come through. It was a good day of practice knowing our season isn’t through.”
North Platte and Southeast will play at 3 p.m. on Wednesday at Creighton University. The winner moves to the state semifinals at 8 p.m. on Friday. The other first round game on that side of the bracket features No. 2 seed Millard North facing No. 7 seed Southwest. The other four teams in the tournament are top-seeded Omaha Marian, No. 4 seed Omaha Westside, No. 5 seed Millard West and No. 8 seed Lincoln East.