Patience helps 1A No. 2 Nevada earn its 11th-straight trip to state with win over CPU
The Nevada girls soccer team knew it was in for a stiff challenge against Center Point-Urbana in the Class 1A Regional final at Cub Stadium in Nevada Thursday.
The No. 2 Cubs faced a 2022 state tournament qualifier with quality talent and experience Thursday. CPU, ranked No. 9 in 1A, played smart disciplined ball for 80 minutes and limited Nevada's good looks at the goal.
But in the end Nevada found a way to break through against the Stormin' Pointers and score a 1-0 victory to punch its ticket to state for the 11th year in a row.
"I just like to keep up the legacy we have going for another year," Nevada sweeper Emma Strottman said. "It's really exciting for our team."
Nevada dominated possession of the ball for much of the game. But the Cubs were unable to get on the board in the first half and CPU continued to hold its ground defensively for the first 13 minutes of the second half.
But Nevada's relentless pressure on offense finally got the Stormin' Pointer defense to crack at the 53-minute mark.
The Cubs got a good run and Rachel Borwick sent a great cross. CPU keeper Emersen Fleming managed to deflect the ball, but Nevada forward Melanie Khounsourath was there to head the ball in off the deflection.
"I saw right away when the goalie tipped it that I was going to use my head," Khounsourath said. "Anything to get that ball in the goal."
Khounsourath said the Cubs managed to catch CPU off guard on the play.
"I don't think they were ready for my header at all," Khounsourath said. "They were all pressuring Kaleigh (Groat) because she was near the goal, so I was open by myself."
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Due to the Cubs' ability to possess the ball for long stretches, their defense was not pressed much during the game. But the back four did not have the night off as they had to constantly come up and help the midfield forwards against a packed-in Stormin' Pointer defense."
"We tried to spread out the field by swinging it a few times, but they were fast and pressured us right away," Strotman said. "It was hard to get off right away. But it ended up working out for us."
The tough match-up was similar to what Nevada will face at state next week.
"When we saw the draw we didn't like it because we knew CPU was a fairly decent team and they got here and gave us a great match," Nevada coach Randy Davis said. "Hopefully that gets us warmed up to state."
CPU ended its season with a 12-3 record. Nevada picked up its fifth win in a row heading into yet another state tournament.
"Everybody is good there," Davis said. "A lot of games when you get there are 1-0. We've got to just keep playing and take our chances."
Nevada takes a 14-3 record into the 1A state quarterfinals next Wednesday at the Cownie Soccer Complex in Des Moines. The Cubs are the No. 2 seed and they face off against No. 7 Bishop Heelan, a traditional power sporting a 15-3 record.
The Cubs and Crusaders are slated to start at 10:30 a.m. on Field 6.
Gilbert girls return to state with 4-0 win over Dike-New Hartford
Gilbert is also headed to the girls state soccer tournament in 1A.
The No. 4 Tigers blanked No. 11 Dike-New Hartford by a 4-0 score Thursday at Tiger Stadium in Gilbert to head back to Des Moines after a one-year absence. Elle O'Brien netted 2 goals and Madisen Powers and Sydney Lynch scored 1 apiece for Gilbert.
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Gilbert takes a 12-5 record into the state tournament. The Tigers are the No. 4 seed and they will face No. 5 seed and fifth-ranked Underwood (11-2) in the quarterfinals next Wednesday at 10:15 a.m. on Field 8 at the Cownie Soccer Complex.
This article originally appeared on Ames Tribune: No. 2 Nevada tops No. 9 CPU in 1A girls soccer Region 2 final, 1-0