116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Two girls’ soccer teams in the Gazette area have yet to lose in 2021.
After Thursday, just one unbeaten will remain.
2A No. 6 Mount Vernon (11-0) hosts 2A No. 5 Clear Creek Amana (10-0) at 4:30 p.m. Thursday in a Wamac Conference cross-divisional game.
The Mustangs have been dominant, allowing just two goals all season, but this will be their toughest test so far. They are led by junior Maia Bentley, who ranks fourth in all classes in goals (29) and assists (15).
The Clippers were challenged twice last week, scoring three second-half goals to down 1A No. 11 Iowa City Regina 3-2 Monday, then rallying from a 3-1 halftime deficit to edge Independence 4-3 in overtime Tuesday. Returning all-staters Lauren Riggle and Ellen Austin have picked up where they left off as sophomores. Riggle has a team-high 17 goals and Austin leads CCA with 12 assists.
“These girls, the seniors when they were freshmen, it was a very young team and they had really big roles right away as ninth-graders,” CCA Coach Matt Harding said after a 4-1 win over Marion on April 12. “They really took on some big losses against some quality teams that year. They learned how to stay positive. They learned how to continue to play hard throughout the game."
Three other teams remain undefeated statewide, including two in 2A: No. 3 Norwalk (9-0) and Mount Pleasant (7-0). 1A No. 2 Waterloo Columbus puts its unblemished mark (9-0) on the line Thursday as well, against Regina (5-3).
Vinton-Shellsburg’s storybook season continues
The last Gazette area boys’ unbeaten was determined Tuesday night. It’s Vinton-Shellsburg.
The preceding paragraph would have been difficult to imagine just a few years ago, as the Vikings won 10 games in their first six seasons from 2012 to 2017. The climb wasn’t totally unexpected though, with the payoff of youth programs now reaching the high school level.
Vinton-Shellsburg achieved that last-area-unbeaten status Tuesday with a 1-0 win over 1A No. 2 Dyersville Beckman and Mid-Prairie’s 6-2 loss to Iowa City Regina.
Cedar Rapids Xavier (7-3) remains No. 1 in this week’s 2A coaches poll, with their three losses coming to 3A opposition.
Waukee joins Vinton-Shellsburg as the last two boys’ soccer unbeatens in the state. What the Warriors have done so far this season is somewhat hard to fathom.
Waukee (14-0) has outscored opponents 93-2 and it’s not like the schedule has been a cakewalk. Sprinkled among its one-sided results are wins over ranked teams like No. 6 Cedar Falls (4-0), No. 7 Pleasant Valley (5-0) and No. 5 West Des Moines Valley (4-1). Tuesday’s game against No. 13 West Des Moines Dowling was just a ho-hum, 2-0 victory.
Mississippi Valley Conference teams Cedar Rapids Prairie (10-1) and Iowa City West (10-1) occupy the Nos. 2 and 3 spots in the poll and might be the top contenders to stop a Warriors three-peat in June.
Substate assignments due out this week
The Iowa High School Athletic Association is scheduled to release boys’ soccer substate assignments this week and pairings next week.
The rankings released Tuesday will play a role in how teams are divided up.
The most-interesting thing to watch might be how southeast Iowa is aligned in Class 1A. Five of the top six teams are from that general region: No. 1 Burlington Notre Dame/West Burlington, No. 2 Iowa City Regina, No. 4 West Liberty, No. 5 Mid-Prairie and No. 6 Solon.
Regina has already handled Mid-Prairie and Solon by a combined 13-3 but lost 4-1 to Notre Dame/West Burlington in a tournament last Saturday.
Jahsiah Galvan doesn’t stick to American football
Galvan is the leading scorer (24 goals) for a West Liberty team that is now 9-2 after Monday’s 5-1 win over 2A No. 13 Clear Creek Amana. His size and speed is unmatched up top, which he showed in scoring the Comets’ second goal Monday, as he beat the goalkeeper to a through ball that looked like it would be out of reach. He’s not just an athlete, though. Galvan demonstrates ball skills and passing ability that can only be developed through years playing the sport.
“He loves being part of this team,” West Liberty Coach Walton Ponce said. “He understands what we’re trying to do from a soccer perspective and we definitely take advantage of his athleticism. He’s been a big, important piece for us.”
More games to watch
Along with Thursday’s girls’ showdown at Mount Vernon, here are five more standout games to keep an eye on over the next week.
Girls: 2A No. 1 Waverly-Shell Rock at 2A No. 8 Cedar Rapids Xavier, 7:15 p.m. — Xavier was No. 1 in the first Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union 2A rankings of the season after bringing back multiple starters from a team that beat WSR in overtime in the state finals two years ago, but slipped last week after a 3-2 loss to North Scott. WSR features the state’s co-top scorer in Iowa signee Kenzie Roling (32 goals).
Boys: 3A No. 12 Iowa City High at 3A No. 2 Cedar Rapids Prairie, 7 p.m. Friday — The Little Hawks (7-3) just beat No. 6 Cedar Falls 2-1 on Tuesday and have another big challenge here. This result could decide the MVC Mississippi Division race.
Girls: 3A No. 6 Linn-Mar at 1A No. 1 Davenport Assumption, 1 p.m. Saturday — The Lions have 1-0 losses to 3A top-four teams Pleasant Valley and Waukee, but have otherwise rolled. Assumption has won eight state titles in the last nine years.
Boys: North Scott at 1A No. 2 Iowa City Regina, 5:30 p.m. Monday — The Regals always test themselves against bigger schools and this will be an interesting benchmark. It’s a tough week with trips also scheduled to 3A No. 7 Pleasant Valley and 3A No. 14 Muscatine.
Boys: 1A No. 4 West Liberty at 1A No. 5 Mid-Prairie, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday — The Golden Hawks couldn’t keep up with Regina earlier this week, ending their seven-game win streak. Will they give the Comets a challenge?