NEVADA - Nevada participating in the girls’ state soccer tournament is becoming a rite of spring.
The Cubs will be returning to state for the sixth year in a row after defeating Grundy Center/Gladbrook-Reinbeck by a 4-0 score in the Class 1A regional finals Monday at the SCORE Athletic Complex in Nevada.
“I don’t know what to say about it,” Nevada head girls’ soccer coach Randy Davis said. “Kids keep coming and it’s [been] a great group of athletes, for years. It’s the mentality in volleyball and basketball in the other sports and building that championship mentality with their teams.”
Nevada put the game away early. The Cubs led 3-0 at the half behind two goals from Maddie Stevens and one from Abby Stephenson.
Stevens drilled two cross shots from the right side of the net. Her ability to nail shots from outside has provided an outstanding complement to Stephenson’s all-state ability to break teams down off the dribble and beat them on through balls.
“We really need Maddie to pick up because a lot of teams will key on Abby,” Davis said. “When they do that, they’ll leave Maddie running on that other side, and she can hit a good ball … If they want to key on one player, we’ve got other scorers there. “
In the second half, Hattie Rhodes nailed one into the net from point-blank range off a great ball from Meredith Harter.
Nevada ended up with 13 shots on goal. Cub keeper Grace Francis only needed to make three saves.
GCGR ended the season at 9-10. Nevada will take a 13-4 record into the state tournament.
“They’re definitely ready,” Davis said. “They know what state’s all about and hopefully that gives us an advantage.”
Nevada opens 1A state tournament play today at the Cownie Soccer Park in Des Moines. The Cubs are the No. 4 seed and will face No. 5 seed Denver (17-3) in the quarterfinals on Field 8 at 12:30 p.m.
NEVADA - Better execution in the second half made a world of difference for No. 5 Nevada in a 6-0 victory over Aplington-Parkersburg during the Class 1A regional semifinals Friday at the SCORE Athlete Complex in Nevada.
Nevada (12-4) was playing in its first game since May 22 after receiving a bye in the regional quarterfinals and it showed in the first half. Despite dominating possession, Nevada’s only score in the first half was the result of a Falcon own goal.
But the Cubs woke up after the break, totaling five goals over the final 40 minutes to turn the game into a rout.
“We took (advantage of) the opportunities we had,” Nevada senior Holly Coogler said. “I think we had a lot throughout the entire game, but we just put them in the back of the net the second half.”
It didn’t take long for Nevada to solve Aplington-Parkersburg’s tightly-packed defense in the second half. The Cubs netted three goals in the first 11 minutes.
All-state performer Abby Stephenson converted a goal off a Hattie Rhodes header 2:24 into the second half and seven minutes later, Maddie Stevens drilled a perfect shot into the right corner of the net from just outside the 18.
“We talk about dropping back and Abby giving it to me when (I’m) open,” Stevens said. “They have a lot of people in the box, so we’ve got to take as many opportunities as we can outside the box.”
Stevens has emerged as a nice weapon to complement Stephenson and Hattie Rhodes on offense this season. Stevens ranks second on the team with nine goals.
“It’s a lot to follow in Abby’s footsteps,” Stevens said. “But (I’m) doing good. We all help each other out and just try and have fun out there.”
Kacie Rewerts finished the quick spurt by scoring off an assist from Stephenson on a nice run during the 50:50 mark.
Coogler had a hand in each of the final two Cub goals.She showed tremendous versatility, moving from right defender to right forward in the second half and finding Stephenson for a goal, then putting one in herself to cap the scoring.
“If I go up there (to forward), I can’t leave them hanging,” Coogler said. “I’ve got to do my job when I go up there.”
The Nevada defense was rarely challenged, thanks to the dominant play up front and at midfield. The win gave the Cub defense its third shutout in a row and 10th of the season.
Nevada will face Gladbrook-Reinbeck (9-9) in the 1A regional finals Monday back at Nevada. A win gives Nevada its sixth-straight trip to the state tournament.
Aplington-Parkersburg ended its season at 9-7.