DES MOINES - The one big break in Nevada’s defensive battle with Center Point-Urbana in the Class 1A quarterfinals of the girls’ state soccer tournament didn’t go the Cubs’ way.
After over 86 minutes of scoreless play between the two teams, CPU’s Kady Pfeifer drilled a long shot into the net to hand Nevada a 1-0 loss June 6 at the Cownie Soccer Complex.
CPU entered the game with 12 consecutive shutout victoires. The Stormin’ Pointers have only given up two goals all season.
So Nevada knew it was going to be in for a dogfight.
“We knew it’d be hard to score,” Nevada head coach Randy Davis said. “We hung in there to give ourselves an opportunity.”
CPU nearly put Nevada in a hole right off the bat. The Stormin’ Pointers’ Lauren Dufoe got a quick run and had a shot go off the near post just three minutes into the game.
The rest of the half saw CPU continue to have better looks, but Nevada’s defense stood tall to allow the offense to find its feet.
Freshmen Mayzi Weig and Tessa Borwick both got off shots from midrange near the 22-minute mark for Nevada. In the final minute of the half, forward Madison Stevens nearly ran down a ball before CPU keeper Carlie Foltz swooped in at the last second to make the save.
The second half saw Nevada began to possess the ball more.
“Our passes got better and firmer,” Nevada midfielder J.J. Williamson said. “We moved a lot more and we talked a lot more.”
The Cubs were playing with a lot more confidence over the final 40 minutes.
“I think we were really nervous at the beginning,” Cub senior midfielder Amanda Fortmann said. “The second half we realized we need to do something about this if we want to move on.”
Weig had a shot go just high in the first five minutes of the second half. Fortmann drilled a bullet shot from the left side midway through the half, but Foltz made a nice stop on the ball.
Both teams had one great look in the final 15 minutes.
With 13 minutes left, CPU forward Nicole Lutz got the ball just outside the PK box and fired to the far corner, but the ball bounced off the post and landed where Cub keeper Erica Sporrer could cover it up.
Meredith Harter had a great cross for Nevada late in the half, but it was a little wide of the mark.
“We had one late in the second half that just went wide,” Davis said. “That’s a difference-maker. That goes in — we win the game. That’s the cruelty of soccer.”
In overtime CPU was in control from the start. The Stormin’ Pointers had a shot goal in the first minute and a corner kick a minute later before Pfeifer broke through to end the game.
“I told the girls — don’t let one game define your season or who you are,” Davis said. “You get to state, you’ve got to be proud of your accomplishments throughout the season.
Nevada finished 14-5. The Cub senior group of Fortmann, Madison Stevens, Mikayla Long and Hailee Weber made state all four years of their careers.
“It feels good to be able to go all four years,” Fortmann said. “Not very many people can say that.”
Even with the tough losses to graduation, the Cubs have enough young talent to make it back for the ninth year in a row as a program in 2020.
“I’m excited,” Williamson said. “We have a lot of girls coming back (and) eighth-grade girls are looking good. We’re going to have some fun and hopefully get back here.”
CPU finished 17-3 after falling to North Polk by a 1-0 score in the semifinals on Friday. Davenport Assumption won its third-straight 1A state title on Saturday with a 1-0 victory over North Polk.
CPU 1, Nevada 0 (OT)
Nevada 0 0 0 - 0
CPU 0 0 1 - 1
CPU - Kady Pfeifer, 86:46.