On cloud nine: Nevada tops Denver to make ninth-straight trip to the girls' state soccer tournament
It’s June and that means a trip to the girls’ state tournament for the Nevada girls’ soccer program.
The Cubs punched their tickets to state for the ninth season in a row with an impressive Class 1A regional final victory over Denver Friday at Cub Stadium in Nevada.
Nevada, ranked fifth, easily disposed of the ninth-ranked Cyclones by a 5-1 score to earn their spot at the Cownie Soccer Complex in Des Moines.
“It’s really awesome that we’re able to continue that legacy and keep the train going,” Nevada senior sweeper Hannah Thomsen said. “It’s kind of a relief...it feels so good.”
Mayzi Weig was the woman of the evening for Nevada against Denver. She scored the Cubs first to goals and added one more for a hat-trick and also added an assist.
“I think we really did good building out of the back and then we had good through balls,” Weig said. “My teammates passed it right to me and I got to finish off of that.”
Weig used fancy footwork to get the ball past Denver keeper Emma Hennessy for Nevada’s first goal 10 minutes into the game. She scored off a great corner kick from Erin Coogler with 6:25 left in the first half to put the Cubs up 2-0 at the break.
Kayla Dunson scored Nevada’s first goal of the second half.
Dunson had just missed out on a goal 8 ½ minutes into the second half. She was fouled on a breakaway to set up a penalty kick for Tessa Borwick, but Hennessy made a great save.
So she tried again 30 seconds later. This time she was able to finish and put the Cubs up 3-0.
Denver scored its only goal on a Lexi Gehrke kick 16 ½ minutes into the second half. Less than four minutes later Weig was there to answer with her third goal to ice the game.
Isabelle Nelson put the icing on the cake with 2:10 left in the game. Weig naturally assisted on the goal to cap an amazing performance in a high-stakes environment.
“It feels really good,” Weig said. “I couldn’t have done it without my teammates.”
A big reason for Weig’s success and the tremendous hot streak for Nevada has been on is a great adjustment by head coach Randy Davis and his assistants Justin Evans and Mark Rhodes made midway through the season.
The Cubs lost to Gilbert and Dallas Center-Grimes on back-to-back nights in April to put them on a four-game losing skid. They ended their slump with a win over Indianola and three nights later Davis implemented his changes in a 4-3 victory over Pella.
“We did a formation change and it really made us stronger through the middle,” Davis said. “We were going with a double-charger and it wasn’t getting us high enough midfield protection, so we moved a player up. Coming back and winning that Pella game gave us a lot of confidence and since then we’ve playing really well.”
The Cub defense has also stepped it up. Led by Thomsen and senior keeper Addi Vorm Nevada had pitched seven shutouts in a row until Gehrke got Denver on the board Friday.
“We do a really good job communicating,” Thomsen said. “We know that no matter who’s in that communication is always there. We’re just good at working together. We know each other really well and how to play off of each other.”
Denver finished its season with a 12-5 record. Nevada took a 13-5 record into the state tournament.
“Our goals are high,” Thomsen said. “We’re ready to get after it.”
Nevada advanced to its regional final with an 8-0 victory over Iowa Falls-Alden in the regional semifinals June 1 at Nevada.
The Cubs scored five goals in the first half and tacked on three more in the second to pull off the lopsided victory. Nevada received two goals from three different players in the win.
Weig, Savannah Skaggs and Melanie Khounsourath each scored twice for Nevada against IFA. Weig also dished out one assist.
Dunson added one goal and one assist, Borwick one goal and Nelson and Emma Strottman one assist apiece. The Cub defense was so dominant against the Cadets that Vorm didn’t need to make a single save.
Nevada 5, Denver 1
D 0 1 — 1
N 2 3 — 5
N — Mayzi Weig, 10:01.
N — Weig, 33:35.
N — Kayla Dunson, 49:04.
D — Lexi Gehrke, 56:44.
N — Weig, 60:16.
N — Isabelle Nelson, 77:50.