Prep Soccer

City High soccer players thrilled drought is over

Wins over West week meant a lot to girls' team - and boys

City High’s Sydney DePrenger is congratulated by teammates after her goal put the Little Hawks up, 3-0, in a win over rival West last week. (Lottie Gidal/City High)
City High’s Sydney DePrenger is congratulated by teammates after her goal put the Little Hawks up, 3-0, in a win over rival West last week. (Lottie Gidal/City High)

IOWA CITY — The last time City High soccer teams strung together two wins against West was in 2003.

For 11 years, the girls’ team has fought to put more in the back of the net than their Trojan counterparts. This year they did. By four.

“It really means a lot to me,” senior Sydney DePrenger said. “. I honestly don’t think (my teammates) need to get me a senior gift anymore. We beat West High and that’s like the greatest gift in the world — especially when we’ve been dry for (seven) years.”

After junior Madelynn Fontana early goal, both teams remained scoreless until sophomore Karissa Dianni, then Deprenger and Dianni again put three past West’s keeper in a matter of minutes late in the second half.

Dilanni’s almost back-to-back goals are a bit unusual. As a target forward, she typically is not on the receiving end of assists.

“I play the nine,” she said. “I’m supposed to be the target and be the one that helps (my teammates) get back and score. It’s awesome finally being able to score for being the target.”

DePrenger chalks up her team’s success to their mastery of set plays and the containment of West threats.

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“We wanted to stop Rachel Olson,” she said. “We wanted to step out to her whenever she got close to the box just because she can take strong shots from the outside.

“We also wanted to keep an eye on Carlin Morsch and Lizzie Raley because they’re both pretty quick on the top.”

City goalie and returning MVC keeper of the year, junior Naomi Meurice, also played a crucial role in the Little Hawks’ shutout win. Meurice’s nine saves on nine attempts allowed her team to focus on their offensive endeavors.

“It’s definitely such an amazing feeling. We’ve been working for this for a while,” Meurice said. “Obviously it’s bragging rights and everything. But it just feels really validating because it’s been a long time.”

At the conclusion of the first game, the boys’ teams took the field for an aggressive, four-yellow-card game. The Little Hawks got out to an early lead with a poke from senior John Clark, but the Trojans responded.

“It was pure adrenaline,” Clark said. “I saw the whole crowd and I was just thinking, ‘This is amazing. This is it. This is what we play for.’”

With 15 minutes left in the second half, sophomore Noah Bullwinkle put one past Trojan keeper Zach Albright to clinch the win.

After easing some prominent first-half jitters, senior John Clark said his team executed their game plan well in the second half of the game.

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“We had been practicing for their long balls constantly, so we knew what they were going to do,” he said. “We just executed, made runs, and good passes.”

Senior captain Jackson Meyer agreed.

“We had a rough first half, but the second half we had way more composure than them,” Meyer said. “In the second half, they were trying to do what they did in the first half, which was win the ball off of our mistakes and then counter,” he said. “We let them do that a bunch in the first half, but we cleaned it up in the second half.”

Meyer has beat crosstown rival West High three out of his four seasons as a Little Hawk, but, for him, the feeling is just as satisfying the third time around.

“It feels great,” he said. “I don’t like them.”

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