Prep Soccer

Center Point-Urbana girls' soccer brings experience, unity to state tournament

The girls' soccer state tournament begins Thursday in Des Moines

Center Point-Urbana teammates celebrate a goal by Center Point-Urbana’s Adrianna Katcher (40) in their 1A semifinal game with North Polk at the girls’ state soccer tournament at the Cownie Soccer Park in Des Moines on Friday, June 9, 2017. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Center Point-Urbana teammates celebrate a goal by Center Point-Urbana’s Adrianna Katcher (40) in their 1A semifinal game with North Polk at the girls’ state soccer tournament at the Cownie Soccer Park in Des Moines on Friday, June 9, 2017. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
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DES MOINES — Early in the girls’ soccer season, Center Point-Urbana was largely untested.

The Stormin’ Pointers earned a No. 2 ranking with nine shutouts during an 11-0 start in which they scored at least five goals in seven games.

As the regular season closed with six contests replete with ranked foes, four defeats amplified areas for improvement.

“It definitely revealed that we are competitive and when we play a more difficult team, we persevere and play harder,” said CPU senior Abigail Weideman, who will help the sixth-ranked Stormin’ Pointers face No. 4 Waterloo Columbus in a Class 1A state quarterfinal Thursday at 11:15 at Cownie Soccer Park in Des Moines. “It helped us a lot realizing what we need to work on … and it made us realize how much harder we needed to push for state.”

Once regional play began, CPU (16-4) outscored its three opponents by a 16-2 margin. A 4-2 regional final victory on Monday over No. 12 Bondurant-Farrar – the third victory over a ranked opponent this season – delivered the Stormin’ Pointers to the state tournament for the third year in a row and sixth time in eight years.

“I know we’re all really excited to have that three-peat and just being able to go back once again,” said junior Tori Halder, who has scored eight goals this season and is tied for the team lead with 11 assists. “But we’re also staying pretty serious and making sure that we have the right mindset going in.”

CPU — the defending 1A state runner-up — was blanked by Waterloo Columbus (12-5), 2-0, in the May 22 regular season finale. It was its only loss against a fellow 1A school this season.

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“It’s going to take a lot,” sophomore defender Madi Van Vors said of Thursday’s challenge. “Really working together and just communicating and always being positive out on the field and just helping each other out through everything. It’s going to be tough, but we can do it.”

Much of the CPU success — the senior class has won 62 games in four years — has been the byproduct of exceptional cohesiveness that permeates the entire roster. Van Vors is part of a stout CPU back line that includes junior Alexa Coller and a pair of four-year starters in Sydney Boevers and Coe signee Raegan Dufoe.

“It’s just phenomenal,” Van Vors said. “I love having them because they are such a great role model for us and they always communicate with us and help us with wherever we need to be. … They’re always encouraging and positive.”

Senior Allie Wooldridge — a Drake women’s basketball signee — leads the team with 20 goals this season, including a hat trick in the regional final. Fellow seniors Weideman and Jordan Van Vors will be tasked with applying more pressure to the Waterloo Columbus midfield than they did in the first matchup.

“We realized we needed to tie down certain things on our defense and offense,” said Weideman, who has 10 goals and seven assists this season. “As us midfielders know, we’ve got to be able to go back on defense as well as playing offense.”

In another 1A quarterfinal, No. 8 Iowa City Regina (10-7) plays third-ranked Nevada (15-4) at 11:45. Nevada defeated the Regals, 2-1, on May 21.

Eleventh-ranked Cedar Rapids Xavier (10-6) earned a No. 6 seed in the 2A bracket and will play No. 3 Pella (13-2) at 2:15.

No. 12 Linn-Mar (14-5) is the seventh seed in 3A and will open with No. 2 Ankeny (17-2) at 4:30.

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More: Girls' state soccer pairings and schedule

l Comments: douglas.miles@thegazette.com

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