116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
MARION — If a comeback player of the year award existed in Iowa high school soccer, choosing only one 2022 winner probably would be too challenging.
The canceled 2020 season was of course unprecedented. It made season-ending injuries last year even tougher to accept — and the story of a player like Cedar Rapids Xavier senior Mary Kate Moeder returning to the field in 2022 after two seasons on the sideline a compelling one for The Gazette to feature.
Linn-Mar’s Katie Callahan can relate. Like Moeder, a torn ACL robbed her of a junior season in 2021. After an extended wait, Callahan is in the starting back line and wearing a captain’s armband for the Class 3A sixth-ranked Lions this spring.
“I knew I’d come back,” Callahan said. “I was ready. Took a little longer than I wanted but I was ready to come back.”
Moeder and Callahan surely aren’t even the only two who would deserve a comeback player of the year award, but the smiles from both after recent games indicated just being back on the field has been plenty rewarding.
“It’s been so good,” Callahan said. “I have had such a good time. I’m so grateful that I get my senior year and get to fight out there with my best friends.”
IHSSN to broadcast boys’ state championship games
The boys’ state soccer championship games will be broadcast live by the Iowa High School Sports Network on June 4, it was announced Monday.
The three games will stream live on the IHSSN’s website and app for free and be available on TV affiliates Mediacom, Aureon, WQAD, KFXA and KTTC. Last year’s title games were streamed by the NFHS Network and required a subscription.
“We have been looking to expand our programming and soccer was the perfect fit,” IHSSN executive director Alan DeBolt said in a news release. “June was an open month for us on our schedule and we’ve had tremendous feedback from our affiliates who plan to carry the event. This is an exciting addition.”
The XI: What stood out last week
1. Humboldt (9-0) is the new No. 1 team in the Class 2A boys’ rankings, replacing Spencer, which dropped to No. 11 after losses to Sioux City West and Storm Lake. Marion (9-1) is No. 3, behind Dallas Center-Grimes (10-2). The Wolves, led by 2A goals leader Jackson Kirsch (25), have only lost to 3A No. 11 Cedar Rapids Prairie.
2. Waukee Northwest (10-1) jumped to No. 2 in this week’s 3A rankings after ending defending state champion Pleasant Valley’s 19-game winning streak, 3-0 at Iowa City High on Saturday. We’re down to one unbeaten in each of the three boys’ classes, all ranked No. 1 this week: Ankeny (13-0), Humboldt (9-0) and Mid-Prairie (9-0).
3. With three goals in Mount Vernon’s 10-0 win over West Delaware last Tuesday, Maia Bentley surpassed 100 for her career. It was a big week for the 2A 13th-ranked Mustangs (9-1), who also beat Anamosa, 10-0. on Monday, Benton Community, 6-0, on Thursday and 1A No. 9 Solon, 1-0, on Friday. Bentley totaled eight goals in those first three games and now stands at 25 this season and 103 for her career — in only three seasons.
4. Iowa City Regina gave the then-No. 4 (1A) West Liberty boys their first loss, 2-1 on Thursday. The Regals (6-5) are No. 12 in this week’s 1A rankings and get a shot at top-ranked Mid-Prairie at home Tuesday. The Comets (7-1) are No. 13 this week.
5. The Mount Pleasant girls beat Washington, 5-4, in double-overtime last Monday. That’s a scoreline you rarely see in this sport. Except, of course, those teams’ first meeting this season. On April 7, Washington beat Mount Pleasant by the same 5-4, double-overtime result. Can we get a Game 3?
6. The sixth-ranked Linn-Mar girls took their first two losses of the season Saturday, but the Lions (10-2) still are unbeaten against Iowa teams. Eureka (Mo.) and Columbia (Ill.) beat Linn-Mar, 3-0 and 2-0, at the Tournament of Champions in Burlington. In all, Iowa teams went 10-14 against excellent out-of-state competition in the two-day event, with second-ranked Ankeny and No. 4 Ankeny Centennial both winning all three of their games ahead of Tuesday night’s rivalry matchup.
7. The last time a public school won the Class 1A boys’ state title was 2007 (Norwalk). That’s not to say this year’s winner is guaranteed to come from the annual Catholic Schools Invitational field, but we’ll certainly find some contenders there. Davenport Assumption won the title in Davenport this year with a 5-0 win over Notre Dame/West Burlington, last year’s winner of of the Catholic tourney and the state championship. Assumption (6-4) also shut out Waterloo Columbus and Council Bluffs St. Albert and moved up to No. 5 in this week’s 1A rankings; Notre Dame is No. 3 and Dyersville Beckman is fourth.
8. Cedar Rapids Kennedy is 3-8 but a team no ranked foe will be excited to see in its boys’ substate bracket. Five days after handing Iowa City Liberty its first loss, the Cougars took No. 9 Iowa City West to penalties tied at 1-1 before falling, 7-6, in the shootout. Thursday, they fell in penalties at Waterloo West after another 1-1 deadlock. That was their first loss against a team that isn’t ranked in Class 3A.
9. The Independence girls improved to 9-1 last Friday with a 4-1 win at Marion. The day before, the Mustangs earned a spot in the IGHSAU Class 2A rankings at No. 14. They’ve clinched at least a share of the Wamac West title and can win it outright by winning at Benton Community (5-8) on Tuesday. Mount Vernon took control of the Wamac East race by beating Solon last week to move to 3-0 in divisional play; Indee, MV and Solon all have one loss in the Wamac overall.
10. In its 10th season as a program, Vinton-Shellsburg clinched at least a share of its second straight Wamac West boys’ title with a 4-1 win over South Tama on Friday, following a big 2-1 overtime win over then-No. 3 (1A) Williamsburg on Tuesday. Ranked 15th in 1A, Vinton-Shellsburg (7-2) can win the division title outright again by beating Center Point-Urbana (5-3) next Monday. Marion is the frontrunner in the Wamac East (2-0) and overall (7-0) standings.
11. Two of the three top-ranked girls’ teams remain undefeated going into the week — 11-0 West Des Moines Valley in Class 3A and 10-0 Norwalk in 2A (1A No. 1 Assumption is 6-3). Seven teams total are unbeaten, including 3A No. 2 Ankeny (12-0), which hasn’t given up a goal, 2A No. 2 Dallas Center-Grimes (12-0), 1A No. 3 Dike-New Hartford (10-0), 1A No. 7 Hudson (6-0-1) and Western Christian (6-0).