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Cougars accept Bache's challenge

December 13, 2007|By ANDREW MASON

"Coach us like men, but treat us like women."

That's the advice women's soccer star Mia Hamm gave to Tony DiCicco when he first became coach of the U.S. national team.

"I always remember that statement by Mia Hamm, and we took that philosophy," said Jefferson girls soccer coach Dunnie Bache, reflecting on the 2007 season. "We worked them hard, and they accepted the challenge.

"One of our strengths was our ability in the second half. We were strong for all 80 minutes. Our conditioning helped us all season."

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The Cougars' strength and conditioning were never more evident than on Nov. 3, when they went the distance and then some to defeat defending champ Parkersburg 2-1 in the West Virginia state final.

The game was tied 1-1 after 80 minutes of regulation and remained that way through four overtime periods, before being decided in an incredible 13-round shootout.

"It was crazy. It was wild," said Bache, The Herald-Mail's 2007 Girls Soccer Coach of the Year. "People who were there will remember it for a while."

It was Jefferson's first state title in girls soccer and completed a 19-1-3 season in which the Cougars outscored their opponents 81-14.

"It was a dream season," said Bache, who's coached the Jefferson girls for seven years. "I still think about it and wonder if it's for real. It's just one time in your life. It's pretty emotional, pretty exciting."

He said he knew the potential was there for a special season before it even began. The Cougars returned four All-Area players from the 2006 team that went 20-2 and advanced to the state semifinals.

"People kept saying, 'What do you think?' And I said, 'I think we're going to take it.' I just had the feeling, and I'm not a very optimistic individual," Bache said. "When we met July 30 for our first practice, I said, 'Ladies, it's there for us. I really feel that we're going to take it.' And I stressed that all season.

"With what we had coming back and what we did the season before, we just had to stay together as a team, and we did. I could not have asked for a better bunch of girls."

Only four of Jefferson's starters this season were seniors.

"They'll be replaced. Our JV team hasn't lost a game in three years," Bache said. "It's pretty exciting. The potential is there again next year."

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