ALLEMAN - With a trip to state on the line, the No. 2 North Polk girls’ soccer team didn’t fool around in its Class 1A regional final game with No. 13 Underwood Monday at Alleman.
Comet star forward Joy Smith began a huge night individually with a goal just over two minutes into the game and North Polk never looked back from there, coasting to a 4-0 victory to earn a spot in the state tournament for the first time in school history.
“We’ve been working so hard for this,” North Polk midfielder Danielle Bonewitz said. “We finally got it, so it’s great.”
Smith was the catalyst for the Comets all game. She netted all four goals, three coming in the first half, as her speed and relentless hustle proved far too difficult for Underwood to handle.
“It was kind of like their defense was a little bit in slow-mo,” Smith said. “I was really excited to have the opportunity to win to get to state. I really wanted to (win).”
Smith’s second goal came off a ball from Bonewitz at the 14-minute, 35-second mark. She struck again 10 minutes later off another great feed from Bonewitz.
“We know that Joy can outrun most people,” Bonewitz said. “We just try to send it through and she’s already taken off.”
The final goal of the game came when Smith followed a ball from Katie Berglund, a little over seven minutes into the second half.
Defensively, North Polk was again outstanding. Led by Gracie Harmeyer and Maddy Hill, the Comet defensive back four made life easy for keeper Sawyer Elwell most of the night, recording its 13th shutout of the season.
“I”m so proud of our defense,” Harmeyer said. “We’re so strong. Our coach (Jeff Anker) is always working on (us) being together and moving together and I think we displayed that on the field.”
Underwood missed on a direct kick 25 minutes into the second half. The Eagles’ best chance to score came against the Comet reserves in the final three minutes, but Elwell made a sliding stop on their best look to secure the shutout.
Underwood finished the season at 12-5. North Polk will take a 16-2 record into the state tournament.
The Comets open their state tournament today as the No. 2 seed against No. 7 seed Tri-Center (17-2) at the Cownie Soccer Park in Des Moines. The game begins at 12:30 p.m. on Field 6.
ALLEMAN - North Polk opened Class 1A regional play with a 5-1 victory over Des Moines Christian in the semifinals Friday at Alleman.
The Comets received two goals and one assist from Joy Smith. Hannah Becker also netted two goals and Courtney Bonewitz put up one goal and assist apiece.
Katryn Halterman and Emily Larson each chipped in one assist for the Comets. The win put North Polk at 15-2 on the season.
Des Moines Christian finished 5-13. Alex Reeder scored the only Lion goal on a penalty kick.