SPORTS

Girls' soccer 2018: Teams, players to watch

Graduation of 11 Gazette area all-staters creates opportunity for new names, faces to emerge

Kennedy’s Olivia Hellweg (3) challenges West High’s Rachel Olson (19) for the ball in the first half at a girls high school soccer game between Iowa City West and Cedar Rapids Kennedy at Kennedy High School in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, April 18, 2017. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Kennedy’s Olivia Hellweg (3) challenges West High’s Rachel Olson (19) for the ball in the first half at a girls high school soccer game between Iowa City West and Cedar Rapids Kennedy at Kennedy High School in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, April 18, 2017. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
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Here are The Gazette-area teams and players to watch during the 2018 girls’ soccer season.

Teams

(2017 record; postseason finish)

Cedar Rapids Kennedy (13-6; 3A state quarterfinalist): Coach Homer Screws returned to Kennedy last season, won the Mississippi Valley Conference Valley Division and led the Cougars to their fourth Class 3A state tournament in a row. Kennedy is ranked fifth in the 3A preseason poll and returns a pair first team all-MVC midfielders in seniors Kenadee Dekko and Olivia Hellweg.

Cedar Rapids Prairie (9-9; 3A regional finalist): First-year Prairie Coach Jonathan Lenhart takes over a Hawks’ program that was within one win of reaching the 2017 state tournament. Junior Sophia Meier (11 goals) and sophomore Emily Brunscheen (six goals, five assists) bring back the most scoring punch.

Cedar Rapids Xavier (12-5; 2A state quarterfinalist): Second-year Coach Chris Higgins and the Saints are ranked sixth in the 2A preseason poll and return two first team all-MVC selections in sophomore Caitlynn Daniels and senior Tana Felton. Senior Emily Minor (11 goals, nine assists) and sophomore Quinn Hanigan (seven goals) lead a group that returns 70-percent of their scoring output from last season.

Center Point-Urbana (17-5; 1A state runner-up): The Stormin’ Pointers open the season ranked second in 1A and return nearly 80-percent of their goal scorers from their state runner-up 2017 season. Coe signee Raegan Dufoe and Drake women’s basketball signee Allie Wooldridge are both two-time members of the all-Wamac first team. Sophomore goalkeeper Lauren Dufoe returns after posting 14 shutouts for Co-Coaches Todd Mitchell and Rich Plante.

Iowa City High (12-6; 3A regional finalist): Coach Michael Prunty and the Little Hawks were one win from the state tournament last season and open 2018 ranked 14th in 3A. City High returns MVC goalkeeper of the year Naomi Meurice (nine shutouts, .862 save percentage), plus juniors Madeline Pugh (six goals) and Samantha Schroder (five goals, five assists).

Iowa City Regina (7-13; 1A state quarterfinalist): Senior forward Lauren Gaarde (19 goals, six assists) leads a Regina team that reached the 1A state tournament last season despite a losing record. Coach Ann Larew and the Regals won’t sneak up on anyone this season with a No. 3 ranking in the 1A preseason poll.

Iowa City West (19-2; 3A state semifinalist): Coach Dave Rosenthal and the preseason 3A No. 10 Women of Troy have made the state tournament every year for the past decade. If the streak is to be extended, a new cast led by junior Rachel Olson (eight goals, five assists) will need to replace 70-percent of the 2017 scoring production lost to graduation.

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Linn-Mar (12-6; 3A regional semifinalist): The Lions open the season ranked 11th in 3A after falling two wins short of the 2017 state tournament. Coach Marco de Leon has a returning first team all-state honoree in sophomore midfielder Abigail Santana (nine goals, four assists), plus two more players (Piper Carey, Hannah Garcia) that scored at least five goals.

Marion (10-6; 2A regional finalist): The Indians were a win away from the Class 2A state tournament last season and are the only area team with two all-state returners in senior midfielder Mia Laube and junior goalkeeper Grace Byers. Coach Erik Trilk also has a pair of goal scorers back in junior Naomi Smith (15 goals, four assists) and sophomore Kayba Laube (eight goals, six assists).

Solon (11-8; 1A regional semifinalist): New faces will have the opportunity for a bigger scoring role following the graduation loss of Iowa recruit Josie Durr. Coach John Tucker and the Spartans were two wins away from the 2017 state tournament.

Union Community (18-3; 2A state runner-up): Coach Hunter Zempel and the Knights are ranked 11th in the 2A preseason poll. Senior midfielder Emma Rottinghaus returns after posting 15 goals and a state-best 38 assists last season.

Western Dubuque (9-5; 3A regional semifinalist): Senior Chloe Baumgartner is a two-time selection to the all-Wamac first team for Coach Cecilia Zangara, who got the Bobcats within two wins of the 3A state tournament.

Players

Sarah Altemeier, sr., defender, Cedar Rapids Washington — Two-time member of the all-MVC first team (2015 and 2016) has 23 assists in three seasons.

Chloe Baumgartner, sr., midfielder, Western Dubuque — Two-time selection to the all-Wamac first team with 42 goals and 21 assists in three seasons, including a career-high 19 scores in 2017.

Grace Byers, jr., goalkeeper, Marion — Class 2A honorable mention all-state selection after posting 86 saves, a save percentage of .723 and seven shutouts in 16 games.

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Kenadee Dekko, sr., midfielder, Cedar Rapids Kennedy — Recorded 14 goals in three seasons and was a 2017 first team all-MVC selection.

Raegan Dufoe, sr., defender, Center Point-Urbana — Two-time selection to the all-Wamac first team. Defensive leader for a CPU team that allowed just 22 goals over the past two seasons. Coe signee.

Tana Felton, sr., midfielder, Cedar Rapids Xavier — First team all-MVC selection (four goals, two assists) in 2017.

Lauren Gaarde, sr., forward, Iowa City Regina — Helped Regina reach the 1A state tournament last season with a team-high 19 goals, plus six assists in 20 games.

Tara Hansel, jr., forward, Dyersville Beckman — First team all-Wamac honoree with 16 goals and six assists in 17 games last season.

Olivia Hellweg, sr., midfielder, Cedar Rapids Kennedy — Notched 15 goals and 11 assists in three seasons. First team all-MVC selection in 2017.

Adrianna Katcher, so., forward, Center Point-Urbana — Second team all-Wamac honoree last season with 18 goals and two assists in 20 games while juggling a full track schedule.

Mia Laube, sr., midfielder, Marion — Class 2A first team all-state selection in 2017. Two-time honoree of the all-Wamac first team. Nine goals, six assists in three seasons.

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Sophia Meier, jr., midfielder/forward, Cedar Rapids Prairie — First team all-MVC selection who led the Hawks with 11 goals and added two assists in 18 games. UNI commit.

Naomi Meurice, sr., goalkeeper, Iowa City High — MVC goalkeeper of the year last season with a save percentage of .862 in 18 games.

Rachel Olson, jr., midfielder, Iowa City West — Highest-returning scorer for the Women of Troy (eight goals, five assists in 21 games). Second team all-MVC honoree.

Emma Rottinghaus, sr., midfielder, Union Community — State leader with 38 assists, also contributed 15 goals in 16 games last season.

Abigail Santana, so., midfielder, Linn-Mar — Class 3A first team all-state and first team all-MVC honoree with nine goals and four assists in 15 games last season. Creighton commit.

Naomi Smith, jr., forward, Marion — Team-high 15 goals, plus four assists in 15 games for an Indians’ team that was one win from the state tournament.

Sarah Steele, sr., midfielder, West Liberty — Ranked third in the state last season with 22 assists, also added 21 goals in 14 games.

Megan Tucker, sr., midfielder, Solon — First team all-Wamac selection with a team-high 14 assists in 19 games last season.

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Allie Wooldridge, sr., midfielder, Center Point-Urbana — Two-time member of the all-Wamac first team. Scored eight goals in 22 games last season. Drake women’s basketball signee.

l Comments: douglas.miles@thegazette.com

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