116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Home / Sports / Iowa Prep Sports / High School Soccer
Hot start is encouraging for young Center Point-Urbana boys’ soccer team ranked in top 10
Stormin’ Pointers improved to 6-1 with 2-1 win over Benton Community on Thursday
CENTER POINT — For a team short on seniors and low on numbers, the youthful Center Point-Urbana boys’ soccer team is “learning quickly.”
Following a big, 2-1 win at home Thursday over Wamac Conference West Division foe and Class 2A No. 11-ranked Benton Community (4-3), the 10th-rated Stormin’ Pointers (6-1) find themselves second in the division, trailing just No. 5 Williamsburg.
“Benton was a good test for us,” CPU Coach Curtis Cassidy said. “It was a hard-fought match. Moving forward, it’s going to get even harder.”
Sophomore Jared Boesenberg was involved in both goals for CPU Thursday, assisting on the first to Bradley Jones and converting the second himself.
“It’s the defense,” Boesenberg said. “They work really hard. I appreciate them because they got us the ball a lot and we worked up field.”
CPU’s hot start is impressive, especially considering it lost several key players from a 2022 team that finished 7-8.
“We’re pretty young, but I think the thing that we’ve been doing well is we’ve been playing for each other, not just individually,” Cassidy said. “Some of our freshmen are stepping up. We’re low on numbers this year, we have 25 guys.”
What CPU might lack in depth and experience, it’s making up for in ball movement on offense and strength on defense.
⧉ Related article: Photos: Center Point-Urbana beats Benton Community in boys’ soccer, 2-1
“Our passing is pretty good and has been better this year than past years,” Cassidy said. “I think our strength honestly comes from one of our leaders, Ryan (Keller), our goalie. It comes from the defensive back.”
Through seven games, the Stormin’ Pointers have allowed just four goals.
Keller has 18 saves and an 81.8 save percentage.
“We’re young, but I think we’re learning quick and progressing fast,” Keller said. “When one guy will run through a brick wall for someone else … I mean every single guy out here will do anything for somebody else. It’s amazing.”
While the defense has been exceptional, the offense is led in scoring by a player who didn’t record a varsity goal last season — junior Gage Pierce has eight goals.
“I have to credit my teammates,” Pierce said. “Most of my goals are coming from assists. I don’t think I could do it without them helping out. And the defense getting the ball to midfield. Just everybody contributing.”
“I would say Gage is one of them as far as biggest surprises go,” Cassidy said. “He put in a lot of work this offseason, and it shows on the field that he put that extra time in to get better.”
The Stormin’ Pointers will need Pierce to keep scoring and Keller to continue preventing opponents from scoring through an upcoming schedule “gauntlet.”
Two of CPU’s next four games will be against ranked 3A opponents — No. 15 Clear Creek Amana on April 28 and No. 5 Marion on May 4.
“I think the better the competition, the better it makes you,” Cassidy said. “We don’t know what’s going to happen here come these later games, but whatever happens we’re going to come out stronger the next day than where we started.
“The leadership on this team is outstanding. I think that’s what going to help us through that gauntlet (of opponents).”
“We’ve got a tough schedule coming up,” Keller said. “We’ve just got to keep playing our game and come to practice every day with the mentality of we’ve got to get better. And then when we come into games we’ve got to show up and play our game.”