Photo by Jeff Yoder
Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – Earlier this season City High strung together a stretch of four consecutive shutouts capped by 4-0 blanking of cross-town rival West High.
A 3-0 shutout of West High in a Class 3A, Region 4 rematch on Saturday the University of Iowa Soccer Complex left the Little Hawks halfway to matching that shutout streak.
And two wins from their first state tournament appearance since 2013.
“Two shutouts obviously means two win and two wins would get us there,” City High junior goal keeper Naomi Meurice said. “Of course, that’s the goal.
”Sydney DePrenger and Emma Seydel scored first-half goals and Meurice and Little Hawk defense took care of the rest as 3A No. 15 City High (10-6) advanced to the Region 4 semifinals.
It was the second consecutive shutout and sixth of the season for City High which allowed at least one goal in eight consecutive matches before a 3-0 win over Waterloo East in the regular season finale.
“We were definitely still figuring out what we were doing,” Meurice said. “We were moving people around in that stretch but I think now we are really rolling. We know what we are doing and we know what we are good at.”
City High will face No. 13 Cedar Rapids Washington (10-4) on Wednesday at 5 p.m. at Kingston Stadium while West High closed its season 1-16.
The Little Hawks defeated Washington 1-0 during its stretch of four straight shutouts last month.
“We need to play the way we have been playing,” DePrenger said. “We have that momentum built up and if we just keep the ball rolling it will be good.
City High got a boost from its offense early on Saturday as DePrenger and Seydel gave the Little Hawks an early cushion with goals in the opening 25 minutes.
Both first-half goals came on loose ball situations in front of the West High goal.
“They finished with hard work,” West High coach Dave Rosenthal said. “They are in the right place, they are scrappy and they take advantage of the mistakes like the loose balls and that makes a difference and that is a credit to them.”
DePrenger gave City High the lead less than eight minutes in when she hammered home a shot after a free kick from outside the box resulted in a loose ball.
West High had several chances to clear the ball but it caromed to DePrenger who finished it with authority.
“I think it bounced off my head and then their goalie had a little bobble in the box and it kind of bobbled around the box and I saw it and just shot it,” DePrenger said. “I knew the goalie was out on the ground so if I got it up in the air it would go in.”
Seydel made it 2-0 with a nearly identical goal in the 24th minute.
“They were both just kind of scrums,” City High coach Michael Prunty said. “They aren’t ones that we are going to put on the highlight reel.”
That was more than enough for City High.
Meurice came up with a save on a point-blank shot in the closing minutes of the first half and West High had its best scoring opportunity of the second half sail wide in the opening eight minutes.
That was all the chances West High would get as City High clamped down defensive in the final 30 minutes.
“We did enough,” Prunty said. “We have a good keeper and our back three are pretty strong so when it came down to really making that tackle and denying them a chance we were able to do that.”
Freshman Lizzie Peters capped the scoring with a rocket from outside the box in the 69th minute.
“Having a freshman get a goal at the end was good for her,” Prunty said. “She strikes the ball really well and she wants to it hit a hard as she possible can and she had her moment and found her range.”