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Iowa soccer roundup: A look at Gazette area conference races as regular season winds down
Plus 11 things that stood out last week
As the Iowa high school soccer regular season comes to a close Tuesday, here’s a look at the Gazette area conference races.
Mississippi Valley Conference: Mississippi Division
Boys — The deepest area division at the top. Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids Prairie and Iowa City Liberty are tied for the division lead at 5-1. Ninth-ranked Prairie plays at No. 16 Cedar Falls on Tuesday, with the winner clinching at least a share of the title. No. 10 Liberty can grab a share if it wins at No. 12 Iowa City High. The Little Hawks are plenty capable of playing spoiler, and the Prairie-Cedar Falls winner will be hoping that happens to claim the title outright.
Girls — Linn-Mar wrapped up its MVC Mississippi schedule last week with a 7-0 record. The sixth-ranked Lions outscored division opponents 53-5.
Mississippi Valley Conference: Valley Division
Boys — Iowa City West, ranked sixth in Class 3A, is the front-runner with a 6-0 record and can win the championship outright by beating 2A No. 7 Cedar Rapids Xavier at home Tuesday. The Saints can still win a share of the crown with a victory, but took their first loss in divisional play on Friday, 3-0 to Cedar Rapids Kennedy.
Girls — Class 2A No. 5 Cedar Rapids Xavier and Iowa City West both are 5-0 and meet Tuesday night at Xavier with the division title on the line. The Trojans have battled for a shot to repeat despite losing Iowa signee Makenna Vonderhaar to a torn ACL.
Wamac Conference: East Division
Boys — Marion, ranked No. 3 in Class 2A, looks to put a bow on a perfect Wamac season Tuesday at Mount Vernon. Dyersville Beckman has one loss in the division and overall.
Girls — Mount Vernon is unbeatean against East Division opponents and can wrap up the championship at Marion on Tuesday. An upset would tie MV and Solon in division play. The Mustangs lost to Center Point-Urbana in a cross-division game, but still have the fewest conference losses overall. CPU, Independence and Solon all have two.
Wamac Conference: West Division
Boys — Vinton-Shellsburg went 6-0 in division play to win its second straight West title.
Girls — 2A No. 14 Independence, starting eight freshmen, won all six games against division opponents.
Other Gazette area conferences
River Valley — Still no league play here, but conference activities directors have voted to make soccer an official conference sport, so it’s coming soon.
SEISC — 1A No. 5 Burlington Notre Dame was 6-0 in the boys’ standings and won the conference tournament last weekend, outscoring its three opponents 28-0.
Southeast — Fort Madison went 10-0 in the boys’ standings, while Burlington and Fort Madison tied at 9-1 in the girls’ race. The Bloodhounds beat Burlington, 4-3, in double overtime last week to get a title share.
The XI: What stood out in Iowa high school soccer last week
1. Dallas Center-Grimes (16-0) became the new No. 1 in the IGHSAU Class 2A rankings after beating Norwalk, 2-1, in a 1-vs.-2 showdown Tuesday.
2. The Solon girls earned two wins over ranked teams last week, first beating 2A No. 14 Independence, 2-0, on Tuesday, then 1A No. 15 Vinton-Shellsburg 1-0 on Friday. The Spartans (14-3) also beat Clear Creek Amana, 1-0, in overtime on Saturday and are No. 9 in this week’s 1A rankings.
3. Waverly-Shell Rock slipped past Spencer to No. 3 in the IGHSAU Class 2A rankings, which potentially eschews a state quarterfinal rematch with No. 5 Cedar Rapids Xavier. Friday, the Go-Hawks (14-1) earned two more big wins at Norwalk, 2-0 over No. 6 Lewis Central and 1-0 (3-2 PK) over the second-ranked Warriors.
4. Cedar Rapids Xavier’s girls rallied with four second-half goals from four different players to beat Cedar Rapids Kennedy, 4-2, after trailing 2-0 at halftime Friday. The win kept the Saints tied for the Valley Division lead in the MVC.
5. Marion’s Jackson Kirsch averaged five goals in three games last week, scoring six, four and five in 10-0 wins over Williamsburg, Maquoketa and South Tama, respectively. He leads the state with 47 goals this season for the 2A No. 3 Wolves (13-1), who have won 13 straight games by a combined 86-6.
6. Despite increasing its winning streak to six, Johnston’s stay as the No. 1 team in the Class 3A boys’ rankings lasted only a week. Ankeny (16-1) beat No. 3 Waukee Northwest in OT and moved back to the top spot ahead of the No. 2 Dragons (15-1).
7. Iowa City West put seven goals past Dubuque Hempstead in a 7-3 win last Tuesday that helped knock the Mustangs out of the IGHSAU Class 3A rankings. Cedar Rapids Kennedy (8-5), a team the Trojans (7-6) beat, 8-1. earlier this season, knocked off Hempstead, 3-2, a few days prior and took its spot at No. 15.
8. Maia Bentley is the only player in the state to rank in the top eight in goals and assists. The Mount Vernon star is fourth with 36 goals and second with 23 assists. The Mustangs (15-1) moved up three spots to No. 9 in this week’s IGHSAU Class 2A rankings.
9. The West Branch boys ended the regular season with nine straight wins, including a 2-1 (3-2 PK) victory over Mid-Prairie on Friday. The Bears (12-2) then took the Golden Hawks’ No. 16 spot in this week’s Class 1A rankings. West Branch’s Peyton Miller is the 1A leader with 33 goals.
10. North Fayette Valley has won 10 games in a row and took advantage of losses elsewhere to vault to No. 2 in the Class 1A boys’ rankings. The TigerHawks are 13-1 a year after their first state tournament trip.
11. A win over No. 11 Denver, 3-1, on Thursday validated Center Point-Urbana’s jump into the IGHSAU Class 1A rankings at No. 10 earlier that day. The Stormin’ Pointers (12-3) now have won six in a row and nine of their last 10.