Prep Soccer

Goalkeeper Naomi Meurice proves impenetrable for Iowa City High girls' soccer

Reigning MVC goalkeeper of the year celebrates birthday with 4-0 shutout of rival Iowa City West

IOWA CITY — Naomi Meurice has made a lot of starts and a lot saves in her varsity girls’ soccer career.

What the Iowa City High junior goalkeeper never had was a win over crosstown rival Iowa City West.

“Just a lot of confidence,” Meurice said after she tallied nine saves as the Class 3A No. 13 Little Hawks defeated West for the first time since 2007, 4-0, in a Mississippi Valley Conference game Friday at the University of Iowa Soccer Complex. “We know the other players. We know who is dangerous and we came out here, (Madelynn) Fontana had a great goal in the first half, and from there we just started going.”

After Fontana broke a scoreless tie with a goal in the 28th minute, Meurice — the reigning MVC goalkeeper of the year — preserved the lead for over 50 game minutes with an array of gutsy, athletic saves.

“Pretty much all of our practice sessions involve me being played back … so I’m definitely very confident,” said Meurice, who celebrated her birthday on Friday. “Obviously, I’m scared sometimes with trying not to make any mistakes. I know that my defenders are there.”

Meurice has started all 42 games since her freshman season and has a save percentage of .846. Her increased confidence, leadership and ability to manage a game allows City High Coach Michael Prunty some valuable flexibility with in-game strategies.

“It’s rare sometimes in high school soccer to have quality goalkeeper like Naomi,” Prunty said. “There is that feeling where we can maybe make some mistakes and we know that she is going to come up with the big save.”

City High (5-1, 4-0 MVC) added three goals in a span of 5:31 late in the second half. Within 38 seconds, reserve sophomore forward Karissa Dilanni scored one goal and assisted on a Sydney DePrenger strike.

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“Our coach wanted us to press up when they would get it,” said Dilanni, who added a second goal with 6:25 left in the game. “I was able to tackle them and was able to get it and cut through some people and finally be able to score.”

DePrenger also distributed her team-high fifth assist.

West remains winless at 0-6, 0-4 in the MVC.

City High visits 2A No. 6 Cedar Rapids Xavier on Tuesday.

AT UNIVERSITY OF IOWA SOCCER COMPLEX

Class 3A No. 13 Iowa City High 4, Iowa City West 0

Goals — Madelynn Fontana 1 (1), Karissa Dilanni 2 (2), Sydney DePrenger 1 (2). Assists — Karissa Dilanni 1 (2), Sydney DePrenger 1 (5).

l Comments: douglas.miles@thegazette.com

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