Crusaders send boys, girls soccer teams to state

Heelan '23 soccer takes over Des Moines
Posted on 05/29/2023

It happened first in the winter, and now it repeats in the spring. 

A few months after both the Bishop Heelan boys basketball and girls basketball teams qualified for the state tournament, the Crusaders’ soccer teams followed suit with state berths in the same week. 

Both berths happened at Memorial Field, and both state-qualifying wins came against Sioux Center. The boys won 2-0, while the girls earned a 6-0 win. 

The Crusaders boys will start off the state tournament run with a 1:30 p.m. match on Tuesday at Cownie Sports Complex in Des Moines against Center Point-Urbana. Heelan has the No. 2 seed in the Class 2A tournament. 

It’s the first time since 2016 that Bishop Heelan will play in the boys soccer state tournament.

“We knew we had the team to do it,” said junior Alejandro Gonzalez, who scored a goal in the substate final. “It seems like we’ve been going to state in every sport we’ve played, or most of them at least. We wanted to make sure people know Heelan is a soccer school.” 

Heelan’s boys soccer team went 13-2 throughout the season, while winning all six of its matches inside Missouri Rivers Conference play.

The Crusaders were ranked No. 1 in the season during the early portion of the season. Statistically, the defense has been among the best in the state. Both goalies – Max Delaney and Landon Block – have allowed nine goals throughout the season. Both netminders are in the Top 5 in Class 2A in the goals allowed category. 

“I told those two throughout the season that it was going to be a competition,” Crusaders coach Pat Herbst said. “It made them better. Iron sharpens iron.” 

In the last five wins, Heelan has outscored its opponent 17-1. The Crusaders have shut out their last three opponents. 

“The team has stepped up,” Herbst said. “We had to change the demands of the players, and once we got them to believe, it worked out well.”

The girls team, meanwhile, has played well down the stretch. No opponent has scored on the Crusaders (15-3) in nine matches, dating back to April 25. Senior Lauren LaFleur has saved 75 shots out of 87 attempts. 

Heelan has scored five or more goals in seven of its last nine matches. 

Sophomore Trelyn White has led Heelan with 29 goals, which is ninth in Class 1A. Right behind White in scoring is senior Jada Newberg, who has 27 goals. 

“We ended up with a good record,” White said. “I think we all play our position and we all communicate. We just talk it out.” 

Under head coach Shawn Mansfield, the Crusaders are off to state for the 14th time in 16 seasons. It’s the fifth straight season the Crusaders are off to the state tournament, not counting the 2020 season that was canceled due to COVID-19. 

Heelan won a state championship in 2015, and will need to do so as the No. 7 seed in Class 1A. 

“I think the important thing with this group is the 12 seniors we have on this roster,” Mansfield said. “That’s the most seniors I’ve ever had. It’s special for them to put the work in the last three years to come to fruition.” 

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