NEVADA - For the second year in a row, the North Polk girls’ soccer team scored a late goal to blank Nevada by a 1-0 score when the two top-10 powers collided in their Heart of Iowa Conference opener Monday at Cub Stadium in Nevada.
The Comets upset then-No. 1 Nevada last year when Hannah Becker converted a header into a goal with just under six minutes left in the second half. On Monday, the No. 6 Comets decided to make things even more exciting — literally waiting until the final minute of regulation before scoring the game’s only goal to upend the No. 4 Cubs.
“I’m extremely proud of my whole team,” North Polk keeper Sawyer Elwell said. “Knowing we were coming in here (having) beaten them last year, we were all kind of nervous. But we just played our game and Emily (Larson) shot a beautiful shot that I could not be more proud (of) and we pulled out the win.”
Larson’s winning goal came on an impressive 25-yard boot with just 49 seconds to go in regulation. Larson lined up the middle of the field and drilled one past Cub keeper Grace Francis into the right corner of the net.
“I knew there wasn’t a lot of time left so I figured I’d better shoot it,” Larson said. “It’s exciting. We definitely make it nerve-racking.”
Wind played a factor in the game. Nevada controlled the first half with the wind to its back, and North Polk had possession most of the time over the last 40 minutes.
Nevada tried to withstand the wind issue in the second half with a great defensive effort by Kaylee Kruschwitz, Izzy Kapustka, Holly Coogler and Gillian Tupper.
The Cubs had a couple good looks in the first half. Their best shot at scoring came when Hattie Rhodes got the ball ahead of the defense and fired a 15-yard shot toward the right corner of the goal, but it went just wide.
Overall the North Polk defense was outstanding, keeping the Cubs off the board. Right-back Riley Murphy, center-right Maddie Bruggeman, center-left Gracie Harmeyer and left-back Maddy Hill all stepped up — especially in the first half when Nevada had the wind to its back.
“I love my defense,” Elwell said. “I don’t think I could have a better defense, because each person brings their own special talent to form our strong defense in the back.”
With the victory, North Polk improved to 3-2 on the season. The loss put Nevada at 0-2 on the season.
North Polk 1, Nevada 0
NP 0 1 - 1
N 0 0 - 0
NP - Emily Larson, 79:11.
PELLA - North Polk split two games against larger schools at the Pella Invitational Saturday in Pella.
The Comets, rated No. 6 in Class 1A, defeated Des Moines Roosevelt by a 1-0 score. They suffered a 6-2 setback at the hands of a Pella team ranked No. 3 in 2A.
Joy Smith netted the lone goal for North Polk in its win over Des Moines Roosevelt. Katie Berglund and Courtney Bonewitz each got credit for an assist on the goal.
North Polk had 10 shots on goal in the win over the Roughriders.
The Comets were held to three shots on goal in the loss to Pella. Danielle Bonewitz tallied one goal and assist apiece and Emily Larson scored the other goal for North Polk in the loss.
Comet keeper Abby Hill made five stops against Pella. Grace Held scored three goals and Katie Vander Molen netted two for the Little Dutch.
ALLEMAN - North Polk couldn’t quite get the job done against a ranked Class 2A team when the Comets faced Norwalk April 6 in Alleman.
North Polk, rated No. 6 in 1A, suffered a 3-2 shootout loss at the hands of a Warrior squad rated No. 14 in 2A.
The game was knotted at 2-2 after regulation plus two overtime periods. Joy Smith scored both North Polk goals and Clare Anderson and Tarynn Rodman each scored once for Norwalk.
In the shootout, Norwalk received goals from Lauren Gavin, Rachel Gavin and Kennedy Scallon. North Polk’s only shootout goal was made by Gracie Harmeyer.
IOWA FALLS - North Polk opened the season with a 6-0 road win over Iowa Falls-Alden April 4 at Iowa Falls.
Joy Smith put up an impressive four goals for North Polk in the victory. Katryn Halterman and Danielle Bonewitz each scored once for the Comets.
Keeper Sawyer Elwell and the defensive back four of Riley Murphy, Maddy Hill, Gracie Harmeyer and Maddie Bruggeman were stout, holding the Cadets scoreless.