CENTER POINT — At two points during the boys’ soccer season, Center Point-Urbana endured three-match losing streaks.
Neither mini-slump deterred the Stormin’ Pointers from the belief that they could be the first CPU boys’ team in a decade to make it to the state tournament.
“Definitely from just the beginning, we all knew that we were definitely the team to be able to go to state,” said CPU senior forward Brandon Dreier, who will help the Stormin’ Pointers open the Class 1A state tournament with a quarterfinal match against No. 1-ranked Waterloo Columbus Friday at 12:15 p.m. at Cownie Soccer Park in Des Moines. “At points, we lose games but at no point did I really think that we were not the team. The right stuff came together and we were able to make it.”
This is the second state-tournament appearance in school history for CPU (12-8), which can earn the first state victory for the program Friday.
“It is a good feeling, for sure,” senior midfielder Tristan Miller said. “That is the goal every year and this year we made it.”
In Saturday’s substate final, CPU clinched its state berth by avenging a home shutout loss to No. 15 Dyersville Beckman just nine days earlier. At the rematch in Dyersville, the Stormin’ Pointers pushed the match to overtime tied at 2-2 before junior forward Ethan Sells’ goal won it.
“We got really frustrated at points and we knew that we were a good team,” Sells said. “It was just the willingness to win that really got us back on track.”
No CPU player in the last 10 years has come close to the scoring production of Dreier this season. With 28 goals this season, Dreier ranks eighth in all of 1A.
“Just a lot of help from the other players around me,” Dreier said. “I am getting a lot of good service in most of the games and it really shows. A lot of assists from the midfielders. Just a lot of good work from pretty much everyone around me.”
This is the eighth state tournament appearance for Waterloo Columbus (18-2), winner of 10 matches in a row.
“We are not putting anybody out of our way,” CPU junior defender Adam Hansen said. “I think we will bring it to any team that we see and Columbus on Friday.”
The quarterfinal round was pushed back a day to Friday due to unplayable field conditions. Semifinals will run Saturday, while the finals were moved to Tuesday.
The other three 1A state quarterfinals also involve area teams. No. 2 Iowa City Regina (15-6) ninth-ranked Greene County at 12:05. The Regals are attempting to win their eighth state title in the last 11 years. No. 16-ranked Iowa Mennonite (12-4) plays Sioux Center (13-4) at 12:10, while No. 11 West Liberty (10-7) opens the day against No. 10 North Polk (14-3) at noon.
Cedar Rapids Xavier (14-2) is the top-ranked team in 2A and will open with a quarterfinal match against Knoxville (14-4) at 2:30.
In 3A, second-ranked Iowa City West (16-1) will play No. 10 Ankeny (12-5) at 5:15, while No. 11 Cedar Rapids Washington (13-5) will face No. 5 Marshalltown (16-2) at 5:10. Ninth-ranked Cedar Rapids Kennedy (11-3) will try to topple undefeated defending state champion and top-ranked Waukee (19-0) at 5.
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