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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
TIFFIN — Lauren Riggle can succeed in high school soccer with her speed and athleticism alone.
Don’t be hypnotized by the way she can stride past defenders, though. The Clear Creek Amana senior forward is a complete soccer player.
Take Monday night’s 4-1 win against Marion at Clear Creek Amana High School. Riggle tortured the back line with her ability to track down through balls and clearances, yes, but she also demonstrated her technical ability and versatility.
When the game required slowing down, Riggle could hold onto the ball, turn to avoid traffic and find a teammate.
When the Clippers were holding onto a 3-1 lead with 15 minutes remaining, Riggle moved to a midfield role, shielding the back line so as to not allow all-metro forward Grace Coates to get the Indians back in the game. Riggle still found a way to contribute the attack, assisting senior midfielder Ellen Austin on the final goal of the night.
“I’ve put a lot of work into my footwork, trying to see the field a lot,” Riggle said. “I’ve gotten a lot better at communicating and staying positive, I’d say. Trying to keep the team going, pushing everybody until the last second, whether we’re up or down.”
Riggle was first team all-state as a sophomore after scoring 19 goals for a 13-5 team, so even after the canceled 2020 season, a big senior year was expected. Still, CCA Coach Matt Harding is impressed.
“She was already an impact player as a sophomore, and now getting to work with her for a couple years, I didn’t know what the upper bound would be for her. She just took over (Monday). She wanted the ball on her foot. She knew that she could get at these girls on the dribble.
“That’s something where, in the past with Lauren, it was her speed. To now see how much effort she’s put into improving her technical ability, that’s a different player than the girl we had here two years ago.”
Speed obviously remains a big part of Riggle’s game. It was paramount in her getting behind the defense and scoring the Clippers’ first two goals Monday after they allowed the opener.
A shot she didn’t convert might best sum up this year’s CCA team, though.
Senior winger Eliza Evans — who can toy with defenders with her quickness and ability to turn out of jams — stormed down the right side and crossed to the top of the box. Riggle surveyed the field, let the ball roll to her left foot to get space and launched a shot off the bar. The first one to the rebound? Freshman Halle Bormann, who dove to head in her first career goal.
“We play practices as if we’re in a game,” Riggle said. “We just keep working at it. It’s really starting to show. I’m so impressed with everybody, freshmen especially who are just coming up out of nowhere.”
There are other first-year players making an impact, too, like center back Eva Plathe and Reese Stockman. Combine that with a senior class that Riggle says “really loves the sport of soccer” and has been playing together since elementary school, and the Clippers have a high ceiling.
Before Riggle starts her college career at Loras, there are goals left to pursue at CCA. The Clippers improved to 3-0 with a 4-1 win over Benton Community on Tuesday, a game in which Riggle scored three more times.
“She’s really developed into a team leader,” Harding said. “It’s kind of uncanny. It just happened. There are things that need to get done and Lauren just takes care of it. Lauren will see something and make sure somebody’s addressing it.”
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