CENTER POINT — The Center Point-Urbana girls’ soccer team is about as tight-knit a bunch as one will find.
Some are sisters by blood, others bonded from a life together in competition from their beginnings in youth leagues to multiple varsity-level high school sports.
As the defending Class 1A girls’ soccer runner-up reconvenes for the start of another promising season, the message amongst the group is clear.
There is one more step to climb on the state-championship ladder.
“They know we’ve got one more win to get,” Center Point-Urbana Co-Coach Todd Mitchell said. “They are motivated. They are all about ‘together.’ Last year, our motto was, ‘together.’ This year, we haven’t changed much.”
Center Point-Urbana opens the season ranked No. 2 in Class 1A, just behind defending state champion Davenport Assumption, which dispatched the Stormin’ Pointers, 3-0, in last year’s state championship match.
“Motivation,” senior defender Raegan Dufoe said. “It was easy when we were winning to stay on that high. But once we lost, we knew we had to put in that extra work and really stay hungry.”
If CPU is to equal a school record with a third-consecutive state berth, a heavy load will fall on Dufoe. The Coe signee and indispensable defensive leader for CPU is a two-time selection to the all-Wamac first team and has started every game since her freshman season. She is joined on the CPU roster by sophomore sister Lauren Dufoe, who posted 14 shutouts after the coaching staff asked her to move from forward to goalkeeper before last season.
“She’s put in a lot of work,” said Raegan Dufoe. “Going from a forward to a keeper is difficult. She’s been working on her hands and really knowing where she needs to tell us to go in the back.”
CPU retained a significant portion of its scoring punch from last season. Senior midfielder Abigail Weideman posted 11 goals with six assists last season, while fellow senior midfielder Allie Wooldridge — another two-time first team all-Wamac performer — added eight goals last season.
Wooldridge is a Drake women’s basketball signee, but like many CPU athletes, she plays multiple sports and absorbs a little something from each one to complete her athletic repertoire.
“Definitely the physicality,” Wooldridge said when asked about the challenges soccer provides. “It’s physical in basketball, but in soccer you can definitely get away with more, so it’s fun.”
The breakout 2017 performance for CPU came from Adrianna Katcher, who led the team with 18 goals during a freshman season in which she missed time due to a full track schedule.
“That’s where that sisterhood comes in,” CPU Co-Coach Rich Plante said. “All the girls are just as happy for her as they are for themselves. When she scores, the whole team scores.”
With a roster in which every player seemingly has the ability to score, CPU has built its success on the backs of a staunch defense. A back wall rotation that includes Raegan Dufoe, fellow fourth-year starter Sydney Boevers, plus juniors Danica Heffernan and first team all-Wamac defender Alexa Coller helped the Stormin’ Pointers allow just 22 goals over the past two seasons.
“Our defense has been strong for the last four years that I’ve played,” senior midfielder Jordan VanVors said. “We have a solid core of girls that have played soccer since they were little kids.”
CPU opens the season at 2A No. 12 DeWitt Central this Friday.
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