Breaking Down the Class 3A Boys State Soccer Tournament

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Photo by Jeff Yoder

Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

The Matchups

No. 1 West Des Moines Valley (18-1) vs. No. 10 Waukee (12-5)

One of three regular season rematches in the 3A quarterfinals pits a pair of CIML rivals in their first ever state tournament meeting.

Waukee is appearing at the state tournament for the first time since 2003 and for the first time in Class 3A.

The Warriors started the season 5-4 but has gone 7-1 since with its only loss coming in a penalty kick shootout to Ankeny Centennial on May 11.

West Des Moines Valley is making its state-best 20th appearance and fifth straight after reaching the 3A title game each of the past two seasons.

The Tigers won the fifth title in program history in 2016 and fell to West High 1-0 in last year’s title match.

Top-ranked West Des Moines Valley won the regular season meeting between the two teams 3-2 at Waukee on April 24.

No. 8 Ankeny Centennial (15-4) vs. No. 5 West High (17-3)

West High has made it a habit under head coach Brad Stiles to play its best soccer of the season at the state tournament.

The Trojans appear poised to do just that once again this season.

West High enters the state tournament riding a 3A-best 12-match winning streak after downing No. 15 Cedar Rapids Kennedy 2-1 in the substate finals.

West High won the ninth state title in program history and fourth in the last six seasons a year ago as the eight seed.

This year the Trojans enter as the fifth seed and hasn’t lost since a 2-1 setback to City High on April 20.

Ankeny Centennial returns to the state meet for the second time and first since placing third in 2015.

The Jaguars won nine straight games to open the season, a stretch that started with a 1-0 win at West High in a penalty kick shootout.

Three of the four losses for Ankeny Centennial were to state qualifiers valley, Bettendorf and Ankeny by a combined score of 8-1.

No. 2 Cedar Rapids Prairie (14-1) vs. No. 6 Ankeny (15-4)

Perhaps the most intriguing 3A quarterfinal is the lone opening round contest that is not a regular season rematch.

Prairie is making its third state tournament appearance in program history, all in the past four years, but is still seeking its first state tournament victory. 

The Prairie Hawks are 33-2 over the past two seasons with both losses coming to West High, including a quarterfinal loss to the Trojans in a shootout last season.

Prairie has been impressive this season, outscoring opponents 58-11 and brings a second-match winning streak to state.

Ankeny is making its eighth state tournament appearance and is searching for its first win at state since 2009.

The Hawks are 2-5 all-time in state quarterfinals and have lost their last four state tournament openers.

Three of the four losses for Ankeny have come to 3A qualifiers West Des Moines Valley, City High and Waukee.

No. 3 Bettendorf (14-2) vs. No. 4 City High (16-4)

City High returned to the state tournament for the seventh consecutive season with a dominant 5-0 performance against Ottumwa in the substate final.

The Little Hawks have won six of their last seven matches posting shutouts in each of those wins.

City High has a balanced offensive attack with three players with more than 11 goals.

John Clark has a team-high 20 goals this season while Ben Steve has added 13 and Cameron Chavez 11.

Bettendorf returns to the state tournament for the second consecutive season after falling to West High in the semifinals a year ago.

The Bulldogs have been at their best against top competition going 4-1 against state tournament teams with wins over 3A qualifiers Waukee and Ankeny Centennial.

The lone loss against teams in the 3A field for Bettendorf was a 3-0 loss at City High on April 28.

The Faces

WEST DES MOINES VALLEY: Jordy Triana was an all-state honorable mention pick a year ago as a junior but has stepped it up this season with 14 goals and a team-high 10 assists.

WAUKEE: Senior Connor Wallace is tied for the 3A lead with 15 assists.  

ANKENY CENTENNIAL: The catalyst of the Jaguar attack junior Will Overberg is tied for the 3A lead with 15 assists to go with a team-high 16 goals.  

WEST HIGH: Junior forward Gada Ambo leads West High with 18 goals and seven assists and has 12 goals and six assists during the Trojans’ current 12-match winning streak.

CEDAR RAPIDS PRAIRIE: A second-team all-state pick a year ago as a sophomore Mateaus Lewis leads the Hawks with 14 goals and has added seven assists this season.

ANKENY: Junior Charlie Pritchard is the top threat in the Ankeny attack with 17 goals and six assists in 15 matches.

BETTENDORF: Senior Dustin Harris ranks fourth in 3A with 22 goals and has added six assists to account for 58 percent of the Bulldogs’ goals this season.  

CITY HIGH: John Clark has posted the best season of his career as a senior with a team-high 20 goas.

The Favorite

West Des Moines has held the top spot in the 3A coaches rankings for eight straight weeks and that makes the Tigers a slight favorite in a field filled with potential challengers.

As it demonstrated last year by winning its fourth title in six seasons as the eight seed West High is always a threat to win the title and enters the hottest team in 3A with 12 straight wins.

City High has wins over three of the top six teams in the final rankings and talented roster filled with state tournament experience.

The Forecast

With three rematches among the four quarterfinal matchups there is a guide for what Friday’s semifinals could look like.

If you follow regular season results West Des Moines Valley and Ankeny Centennial would meet in one semifinal with City High perhaps getting a rematch with Cedar Rapids Prairie in the other.

West High seems too hot to miss a semifinal trip and could set up a rematch of last year’s title game victory over Valley with a quarterfinal win.

The Focus

The Mississippi Valley Conference and Central Iowa Metro League have dominated the state’s biggest class for the last 15 years producing the last 13 big school state champs.

No other conference has had a title game participant since Bettendorf was runner-up to West High in 2005.

The MVC has had the upper hand on the CIML winning nine of the last 15 titles while the CIML has five titles over that span.
This year’s 3A field features four CIML teams and three teams from the MVC.

Five Fast Facts

* City High is 5-2 against state tournament qualifiers with wins over state qualifiers in each class. Davenport Assumption in 1A, Cedar Rapids Xavier in 2A and Bettendorf, West High and Ankeny in 3A.

* The 12-match winning streak for West High is the longest active streak in Class 3A and third longest in the state behind only 2A unbeatens Storm Lake (16) and Marion (15).

* City High has gone 2-3 in its last five state tournament quarterfinals but since both times the Little Hawks have won their opener since 2013 they have reached the state title game.

* Cedar Rapids Prairie is 33-2 over the past two seasons with both losses coming to West High 2-1 in overtime. West High downed the Hawks in a penalty kick shootout in last year’s 3A quarterfinals and 2-1 in double overtime this season.  

* Bettendorf senior Dustin Harris is the top scorer in the 3A field with 22 goals. No other 3A participant has more than 19 goals this season.

The Schedule

Thursday’s Quarterfinals

West Des Moines Valley (18-1) vs. Waukee (12-5), 5 p.m.

Ankeny Centennial (15-4) vs. West High (17-3), 5:10 p.m.

Cedar Rapids Prairie (14-1) vs. Ankeny (15-4), 5:15 p.m.

Bettendorf (14-2) vs. City High (16-4), 5:10 p.m.

Friday’s Semifinals

West Des Moines Valley/Waukee winner vs. Ankeny Centennial/West High winner, 5 p.m.

Cedar Rapids Prairie/Ankeny winner vs. Bettendorf/City High winner, 5:05 p.m.

Saturday’s Championship

Semifinal winners, 5 p.m.