ALLEMAN - The No. 2 (Class 1A) North Polk girls’ soccer team took down two 3A programs at the North Polk Invitational Saturday in Alleman.
The Comets blanked both Des Moines Lincoln and Fort Dodge, winning both games by a 3-0 margin to raise their season record to 12-2.
In the win over Des Moines Lincoln, the Comets received two goals and one assist from Joy Smith and one goal from Emily Washington. Katie Berglund, Courtney Bonewitz and Danielle Bonewitz each dished out one assist in the victory.
Danielle Bonewitz netted two goals and one assist and Cassandra Cox picked up one goal and assist apiece for North Polk in the victory over Fort Dodge. Courtney Bonewitz had three assists and Smith handed out one.
Comet keeper Sawyer Elwell made one save against Fort Dodge.
ALLEMAN - It wasn’t easy, but No. 2 North Polk reached its goal of an outright Heart of Iowa Conference championship with a 2-1 victory over No. 7 Gilbert in a confrontation between two Class 1A girls’ soccer powers Tuesday at Alleman.
The Comets used a hot start and a great answer to Gilbert’s only goal to go in front in the first half. The midfield and defense withheld a strong second half by Gilbert to help North Polk avenge a 2-1 loss to the Tigers last year — a game that saw Gilbert score the winning goal in the final three minutes.
On Tuesday, North Polk (9-2) broke a 1-1 tie on a Joy Smith goal during the 28-minute, 25-second mark of the game. Gilbert (8-3) had just tied the game three minutes earlier when Olivia Stearns converted a Hannah Thatcher corner kick into a goal.
Danielle Bonewitz sent a great ball that went off Gilbert keeper Erin Kimle’s hands and Smith was there to knock into the net.
“I just saw it go off the keeper’s hands and was there at the right moment to put it in,” Smith said. “It felt pretty good to get momentum back to us and playing our game.”
Bonewitz also had a hand in North Polk’s first goal. For the second game in a row, the Comets scored in the first minute as Bonewitz sent a ball toward the goal, and after it bounced around, Katie Berglund was there to put it in the net just 53 seconds into the game.
“Our forwards and mids are just really good at running it,” Bonewitz said. “If we get the ball, in you know they’re going to be there. If the goalie knocks it away, they’re always there to come and finish it.”
North Polk maintained its 2-1 lead going into halftime.
In the second half, Gilbert regrouped and began controlling possession. The Tigers did a great job preventing any good runs by North Polk and they also got off a couple good looks at goal in the first 25 minutes, but were unable to convert.
The Comet defense and keeper Sawyer Elwell hung tough during Gilbert’s best stretches until North Polk began possessing the ball better in the final 10 minutes.
“They definitely connected with their feet really well and we just had an off passing game,” North Polk defensive center midfielder Hannah Becker said. “Props to them — they had really good passing. We just had to possess the second half and keep them from scoring.”
Becker, who moved from forward to defense this season, said winning the conference outright for the first time in school history was a big deal for the Comet senior class. North Polk was only 3-10 the year before the current seniors arrived.
“We worked really hard to get to this point,” Becker said. “We’re the first North Polk team to win conference.”