Breaking Down the Class 1A Girls State Soccer Tournament

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Photo by Jeff Yoder

Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

The Matchups

No. 1 Davenport Assumption (15-2) vs. No. 10 North Polk (14-5)

Two-time defending champion Davenport Assumption is seeking its eighth state title in its 12th consecutive trip to the state tournament.

The Knights are 6-0 against Class 1A competition this season outscoring those teams 44-2 and both losses came by one goal on the road to top-10 Class 3A teams in Bettendorf and Cedar Rapids Washington.

Davenport Assumption enters the state tournament riding a five-match winning streak in which it has outscored opponents 35-0.

North Polk recorded a 2-0 win over Tri-Center in its first ever match at the state tournament last year before falling to Center Point-Urbana 1-0 in the semifinals.

The Comets bring a six-match winning streak to its second straight state tournament appearance and have posed four shutouts during that stretch.

Three North Polk players have scored at least 14 goals led by senior Danille Bonewitz with a team-high 19 goals. 

No. 4 Waterloo Columbus (12-5) vs. No. 6 Center Point-Urbana (16-4)

Waterloo Columbus is back at the state tournament for the fourth time in five seasons after a one-year hiatus.

The Sailors return to the state tournament as one of the hottest teams in Class 1A.

After opening the season 4-4, Waterloo Columbus has won eight of its last nine with the only loss during that stretch coming to Class 3A Cedar Falls.

Waterloo Columbus won four consecutive matches over ranked teams during its strong finish to the season including a 2-0 win over Center Point-Urbana on May 22.

The Sailors are 5-1 all-time in state quarterfinals but have gone 0-5 in semifinals.

Center Point-Urbana won 11 consecutive games to open the season but lost four of its next six before rattling off three straight postseason wins to return to the state tournament for the third year in a row.

Defending state runner-up Center Point-Urbana knocked off No. 12 Bondurant-Farrar in the regional finals.

The Stormin’ Pointers have three players with double digit goals this season led by senior Allison Wooldridge with 20 and Adrianna Katcher with 14 goals and 11 assists.

No. 2 Gilbert (15-2) vs. No. 9 Sioux City Heelan (11-7)

One of the winningest programs in state tournament history in Sioux City Heelan meets a Gilbert team looking for its first ever state tournament victory.

Gilbert is no state tournament stranger.

The Tigers are making their seventh appearance at state and third consecutive trip to the Cownie Soccer Complex but are still looking for their first semifinal berth after 2-1 opening-round loss to Center Point-Urbana last season.

Gilbert enters state tournament play among the hottest teams in the state, riding an 11-match winning streak and has posted eight consecutive shutouts.

Sioux City Heelan is making its state-best 17th trip to the state tournament after having its 10-year string of consecutive appearances end last season.

Since state went to three classes in 2011 Sioux City Heelan is the only team other than Assumption to win a 1A title, claiming the crown in 2015.

Sioux City Heelan dropped to 5-7 after back-to-back losses to 3A programs Waukee and Urbandale on May 12 but has rattled off six straight wins since including a 6-3 win over No. 11 Council Bluffs St. Albert in the regional semifinals.

No. 8 Regina (10-7) vs. No. 3 Nevada (15-4)

A pair of teams familiar with the state tournament meet in a regular season rematch in the final 1A quarterfinal of the day.

Regina and Nevada are both making their seventh consecutive state tournament appearances and the first state meeting between the two programs since the Cubs won a 3-1 semifinal contest in 2015 appears to be even.

The two teams played 100 minutes to a 1-1 draw earlier this season before Nevada won a penalty kick shootout.

Six of the seven losses for Regina this season have come to ranked in-state opponents while Nevada has played its own challenging schedule with losses to 3A teams Ames and Southeast Polk as well as state qualifiers Gilbert and Dallas Center-Grimes.

Regina is 2-2 at state since its 2015 semifinal loss to Nevada with both losses coming to Davenport Assumption falling 1-0 in the 2016 championship match and 9-0 in a quarterfinal last year.

Nevada has won six consecutive quarterfinals and finished runner-up twice (2014, 2015) during seven-year state streak.

The Faces

DAVENPORT ASSUMPTION: A first-team all-state pick a year ago, senior Molly Gervase has 67 career goals to her credit and is tied for the team lead this season with 20.

NORTH POLK: Senior Danielle Bonewitz has scored a goal in six consecutive matches and leads the Comets with 19 goals on the season.

WATERLOO COLUMBUS: Olivia Fain was a second-team all-state pick a year ago and has scored six goals and leads the Sailors with 13 assists.

CENTER POINT-URBANA: Allison Wooldridge has a future as a basketball player but has used her 6-foot-0 frame to score a team-high 20 goals which ties for the most in the 1A field.

GILBERT: A second-team all-state pick a year ago, senior Emily Branson leads the Tigers with 18 goals and has added five goals in her best season as a prep.  

SIOUX CITY HEELAN: Freshman Ellie Gengler has had an impressive debut season leading the Crusaders with 14 goals and four assists.

REGINA: Senior Lauren Gaarde has scored a team-high 15 goals and ranks second on the team with four assists.

NEVADA: Junior Maddie Stevens has scored a team-high 15 goals including the game-winner in 1-0 win over Des Moines Christian in the regional final.

The Favorite

Since the state went to three classes in 2011 Class 1A has belonged to Davenport Assumption.

The Knights won their sixth 1A title in the past seven seasons and second in a row last season defeating Center Point-Urbana 3-0 in the title match.

Davenport Assumption is once again the overwhelming favorite in 1A entering top-ranked and unbeaten against 1A competition.

The Forecast

The top two seeds appear to be on a collision course for the meeting in the finals as top-ranked Davenport Assumption and second-ranked Gilbert each enter playing perhaps their best soccer of the season.

What seems to be the question is who emerges from the other two quarterfinals to challenge those teams in the semis.

Waterloo Columbus, Center Point-Urbana, Nevada and Regina all have the talent and state tournament experience to spoil a possible one vs. two title match.

The key for all four of those teams will be surviving a rugged opening-round match.

The Focus

Can anyone knock off Assumption?

It’s been the top question for several years and every season the Knights look more and more impressive at the Cownie Soccer Complex.

Last season Assumption outscored opponents 14-0 on its way to its sixth 1A title in seven seasons and second in a row.

Assumption has outscored state tournament opponents 24-0 while winning the last two titles, the last goal it allowed at state was in a 2015 quarterfinal loss to Waterloo Columbus.

Five Fast Facts

* Gilbert is the only team in the 1A field with four double digit goal scorers. Emily Branson (18 goals), Eva Steckelberg (17 goals), Anna Dresser (12 goals) and Hannah Thatcher (11 goals) all have scored more than 10 goals this season.

* Three players in the 1A field have scored 20 goals this season and two of them play for Davenport Assumption. Assumption seniors Molly Gervase and Carly King join Center Point-Urbana senior Allison Wooldridge as the only 20 goal scorers in the tournament.

* Six of the eight teams in the Class 1A field were at the state tournament a year ago including all four of last seasons semifinalists.

* Regina senior Lauren Gaarde has 65 career goals to her credit second most among players in the 1A field. Only Davenport Assumption Molly Gervase (67 career goals) has more than Gaarde.

* Gilbert and Davenport Assumption have each allowed just four goals this season in 17 matches this season, tied for the fewest in Class 1A. Davenport Assumption enters the state tournament with five consecutive shutouts while the Tigers have gone eight consecutive matches without allowing a goal.

The Schedule

Thursday’s Quarterfinals

Davenport Assumption (15-2) vs. North Polk (14-5), 11 a.m.

Waterloo Columbus (12-5) vs. Center Point-Urbana (16-4), 11:15 a.m.

Gilbert (15-2) vs. Sioux City Heelan (11-7), 11:30 a.m.

Nevada (15-4) vs. Regina (10-7), 11:45 a.m.

Friday’s Semifinals

Davenport Assumption/North Polk winner vs. Waterloo Columbus/Center Point-Urbana winner, 11 a.m.

Gilbert/Sioux City Heelan winner vs. Nevada/Regina (10-7), 11:15 a.m.

Saturday’s Championship

Semifinal winners, 10 a.m.