HUXLEY - A new formation is starting to pay off for the Nevada girls’ soccer team as the No. 7 (Class 1A) Cubs hammered Ballard, 10-0, Monday at Rich Strouse Field in Huxley.
After starting 0-2 with losses to 3A power Ames and top-10 1A rival North Polk, the Cubs earned a 10-0 victory for the second game in a row to even their record at 2-2. Nevada has implemented a 4-3-2-1 formation since its two setbacks and the move has paid off thus far.
“This is our second game running the formation, but we’re getting really comfortable with it,” Nevada all-state performer Abby Stephenson said. “We’re really connecting very well from the top (and) finding the open player. It’s going really well.”
Stephenson has turned in a monster outing in each game since the formation change. She followed up an eight-goal showing versus Prairie City-Monroe with five goals and one assist versus Ballard.
A big reason for her success has been the play of Hattie Rhodes in the middle. Rhodes was masterful directing the Cub attack Monday — dishing out five assists and recording a hat-trick of her own with three goals.
“Stevie, Maddie (Stevens) and Mere (Meredith Harter) do hard runs every time, so I want to reward them for running more than I do,” Rhodes said. “I think we’re building chemistry in practice. We’ve been doing a lot of passing and cohesiveness drills and I think that’s really been showing on the field.”
Nevada put the game away 10 minutes into the contest with three goals over a three-minute span. Rhodes started the scoring with consecutive goals off balls from Stephenson and Amanda Fortmann, and she fed Stephenson for the final goal of the spurt.
Stephenson ended up with all five of her goals in the first half as Nevada built a huge 8-0 lead. That took a lot of pressure off freshman keeper Erika Sporrer, who is filling in for injured starter Grace Francis.
“Erika works hard in practice, so when Grace got hurt, Erika stepped in and she did good tonight,” Rhodes said.
Stevens had one goal and assist for Nevada in the first half.
In the second half, Rhodes scored her third goal with a nifty header off a tremendous throw-in by Skye Borton. Holly Coogler also found the back of the net for the final Cub goal to end the game early on account of the 10-goal rule.
The Cubs handed Ballard its first loss of the season. The Bombers fell to 2-1.
NEVADA - An amazing individual performance by Abby Stephenson propelled Nevada past Prairie City-Monroe, 10-0, April 11 at Cub Stadium.
Stephenson scored an incredible eight goals for a Cub team rated No. 4 in Class 1A to begin the season. The victory was the first of the season for the Cubs, who improved to 1-2.
Hattie Rhodes did an excellent job distributing the ball for Nevada. She handed out four assists on the night.
Morgan Dakarian and Meredith Harter each netted one goal for the Cubs. Nevada finished with 22 shots on goal.
Grace Francis and Erika Sporrer split time at keeper for Nevada. Neither had to make a save, thanks to a dominant Cub possession game and great team defense.