Taking a Closer Look at Area Girls Soccer Teams

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Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

City High

Coach: Michael Prunty (4th season)

Assistant coaches: Carolyn Silverman, Jeff Miller

Last season: 12-6, 9-4 MVC

Returning starters: Sydney DePrenger, Sr., FOR; Naomi Meurice, Jr., GK; Madelyn Fontana, Jr., DEF; Sam Schroder, Jr., MF; Ella Hennager, Jr., MF; Deanna Richardson, Jr., DEF; Madeline Pugh, Jr., FOR

Other returning letterwinners: Karissa Dianni, Soph., FOR

Newcomers to watch: Callie Menzel, Fr., DEF; Grace Foster, Jr., DEF; Stella Foster, Fr., MF

Headliner: The Valley Division keeper of the year last season, junior Naomi Meurice is entering her third season as the starting keeper at City High and gives the Little Hawks one of the top keepers in the state.

Keep an eye on: Iowa commit Sam Schroder is the top returning scorer for City High after scoring five goals and adding five assists as a sophomore.

Circle the date: April 20 vs. West High. Cross-town rivals meet at the University of Iowa field in a MVC cross-divisional showdown.

Outlook: After back-to-back 12-win seasons that ended with losses in the regional finals the Little Hawks will attempt to take the next step this season and reach the state tournament for the first time since 2013.

City High must replace its top scoring in Sydney Schroder and all-stater and Nebraska recruit Grace Brown but brings back seven starters from a team that fell to state runner-up West Des Moines Valley 1-0 in the regional final.

Sam Schroder, Meurice and senior Sydney DePrenger (3 goals, 3 assists) give the Little Hawks a strong group of experienced leaders.

West High

Coach: David Rosenthal (20th season)

Assistant coaches: Ben Liesveld

Last season: 19-2 (Class 3A state semifinals)

Returning starters: Marnie Vonderhaar, Jr., DEF; Holly Paulsen, Sr.; DEF; Carlin Morsch, Sr., MF; Kennedy Hochstedler, Jr., MF; Avery Lawler, JR., DEF; Rachel Olson, Jr., MF; Lizzie Raley, Sr., MF.

Other returning letterwinners: Pauline Kihura, Soph., FOR; Laura Machlab, Sr., DEF; Hannah Cantrell, Jr., MF.

Headliner: A second-team all-divisional selection last season Rachel Olson is the top returning scorer for West High after scoring eight goals and adding nine assists as a sophomore.

Keep an eye on: Kennedy Hochstedler will look to step into a bigger role this year after scoring four goals and adding five assists a year ago.

Circle the date: April 7 vs. Ames at Bettendorf Tournament. West High gets an early season test in the form of a state semifinal rematch with top-ranked Ames.

Outlook: There are holes to fill for West High starting with the loss of with of two of the best players in the state in departed seniors Regan Steigleder and Emma Cooper.

There is also returning talent for the Women of Troy as West High brings back seven starters from a state semifinalist team of a season ago.

Olson and Hochstedler headline the list of returners and are joined by seniors Lizzie Raley (3 goals, 3 assists), Carlin Morsch (2 goals, 2 assists) and junior defender Marnie Vonderhaar (1 goal, 2 assists).

West High also must find a new goalkeeper as it attempts to return to the state tournament for the  11th season in a row.

Liberty High

Coach: Frank Fiordellisi (1st season)

Assistant coaches: Ryan Steward, Tyler Pauley

Last season: N/A

Returning letterwinners: Madi Barta, Sr., DEF; Sydni Von Sprecken, Sr., MF

Newcomers to watch: Maddie Bartelme, Sr., DEF; Briana Ervin, Soph., FOR; Elise Hermiston, Fr., MF; Nicole Hoeg, Sr., GK; Isabel Machlab, Fr., DEF; Lucy Kaskie, Fr., DEF; Sam McPherson, Soph., DEF.

Headliner: Senior defender Madi Barta was a starter at West High last season helping the Women of Troy to a 19-2 record and state semifinal berth.

Keep an eye on: Sydni Von Sprecken is another player that got varsity experience a year ago at West High and should be a key piece for the Lightning in the midfield.

Circle the date: April 2 at West Delaware. The first game in program history comes on the road against a West Delaware team that went winless last year.  

Outlook: There will be a few familiar faces for soccer fans as the first season in program history kicks off at Liberty High.

Long-time West High assistant coach Frank Fiordellisi takes over the program and has a pair of players with varsity experience in seniors Madi Barta and Sydni Von Sprecken.

Liberty High will compete as an independent this season and in the Class 1A postseason. 

Clear Creek Amana

Coach: Matt Harding (6th season)

Assistant coach: Kasey Bortz

Last season: 14-4 (10-1 WAMAC)

Returning starters: Taylor Fuller, Sr., FOR; Carolina Herrera, Sr., MF; Alexi Kimm, Jr., MF; Erin O’Keefe, Jr., DEF; Amelia Pereira, Jr., DEF; Carsyn Gallagher, Soph., FOR; Liza Evans, Jr., DEF.

Other returning letterwinners: Holli Duke, Sr., DEF; Georgie Schuerer, Jr., FOR; Alexis Schau, Jr., FOR; Ellie Waterbury, Soph., DEF; Hannah Shade, Soph., DEF.

Newcomers to watch: Lillian Hennes, Jr., GK; Lauren Riggle, Fr., FOR; Allen Austin, Fr., MF; Eliza Evans, Fr., DEF; Peyton Grafft, Fr., DEF; Avery Woodward, Fr., MF.

Headliner: A four-year starter, Carolina Herrera will be looked upon to take on a bigger role this season with the loss of five multi-year starters and is coming off a junior season in which she ranked second on the team with seven assists.

Keep an eye on: Big things are expected of Carsyn Gallagher after ranking second on the team a year ago with six goals.

Circle the date: April 10 vs. Central DeWitt. After starting the season with three consecutive road matches the home opener comes against 2A No. 12 Central DeWitt.

Outlook: Graduation hit Clear Creek Amana hard as five four-year starters led by Drake recruit and the program’s career goals and assist leader Hannah Bormann are gone from last year’s 14-4 squad.

That is the bad news for sixth-year head coach Matt Harding. The good news for Harding is the off-season commitment from returners was the best he has witnessed at CCA, a big class of freshmen is in place to plug holes and the Clippers boast an experienced back line.

Four-year starter Carolina Herrera leads a group of seven returning players with starting experience.

Solon

Coach: John Tucker (14th season)

Assistant coaches: Andrea Keegan, Jeff Frerich

Last season: 11-8

Returning starters: Megan Tucker, Sr.; Brianna Smith, Sr.; Chandler DeWitt, Sr.; Taylor Noonan, Jr.

Other returning letterwinners: Faye Duster, Sr.; Jill Richards, Sr.; Lauren Roeder, Sr.; Brenna Gogel, Soph.; Kenzie Pentico, Jr.; Sylvia Havlicek, Soph.

Headliner: Megan Tucker has led the Spartans in assists each of the past two seasons and was a first-team WAMAC East Division pick last year as a junior after posting 14 assists.

Keep an eye on: Senior Brianna Smith will make the switch to playing the field this season after making 115 saves a year ago as the Spartans top option in goal.

Circle the date: May 22 at Regina. The Spartans close the regular season with a trip to Iowa City to face rival and traditional 1A power Regina.

Outlook: Solon must adjust to life after Josie Durr as the state’s top scorer and her 62 goals have moved on to Iowa. The Spartans do return four starters among 10 returning letterwinners from last year’s team that won 11 matches.

Tucker and Smith join senior Chandler DeWitt and junior Taylor Noonan as players that return with starting experience.