DES MOINES — The Center Point-Urbana girls’ soccer team had been toeing the line between victory and defeat all week.
After scoring zero goals in regulation but managing to win both a regional final and a state quarterfinal, failing to finish finally caught up with the Stormin’ Pointers.
“When you get this close at this level of competition, anyone can win any day,” CPU Co-Coach Todd Mitchell said after the third-ranked Stormin’ Pointers were eliminated by No. 8 North Polk, 1-0, in a Class 1A state semifinal Friday at Cownie Soccer Park. “Today was their day. Just hats off to those guys and I wish them the best (Saturday). Very proud of our girls.”
A rugged, smothering defense got CPU within a match of playing for its first state title. The Stormin’ Pointers qualified for state Monday by outlasting Dyersville Beckman through two scoreless halves, two scoreless overtime periods and prevailing on penalty kicks. CPU opened the state tournament by taking another scoreless tussle into overtime before its offense provided the game-winning goal.
For much of the semifinal, it appeared that another CPU match would be decided in overtime or penalty kicks until a North Polk corner kick was punched in by the Comets’ Talula Monk in the 55th minute, her fourth goal this season.
It was the first goal surrendered by the CPU defense since an April 18 loss to Cedar Rapids Prairie.
“We worked hard,” CPU junior defender Madi VanVors said. “We worked as a team. We just fell a little short. They had one little mix around in the box. They finished it well. I have got to give it to them. They did a very nice job doing that. Overall, we stayed together and we stuck together as a team and we played our best. That is all we can ask for.”
North Polk (16-4) will play for its first state championship Saturday at 10 a.m. against No. 1 Davenport Assumption (19-1), the three-time defending state champion and winner of seven of the last eight 1A state titles. Assumption defeated North Polk last year in a 1A quarterfinal, 8-0.
CPU (17-3) ends its season in the state semifinals for the second year in a row. The Stormin’ Pointers will graduate four senior starters in defenders Alexa Coller and Danica Heffernan, midfielder Haley Johnson and forward Blasi Whitehead.
“We have had four wonderful years with those ladies and we are going to really miss them,” Mitchell said. “We have some back-filling to do on that defense. We live and die by our defense and it was a little bit of a breakdown, but absolutely nothing to feel bad about. One game does not define this season. Lots to be proud of.”
CLASS 1A STATE SEMIFINAL
At Des Moines
No. 7 North Polk 1, No. 3 Center Point-Urbana 0
Goal — Talula Monk (4).
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