DES MOINES - North Polk found out first hand why Davenport Assumption is the premier girls’ soccer team in Class 1A during the Class 1A state quarterfinals June 7 at the Cownie Soccer Park in Des Moines.
Assumption, ranked No. 1 and going for its third-straight state title, overwhelmed the No. 10 Comets by an 8-0 score.
North Polk (14-6) entered state coming off a big 2-1 regional final win over No. 5 Denver at Denver. Comet head girls’ soccer coach Jeff Anker knew his team would need a similar performance to keep up with Assumption.
“The Denver game to get here was our best game we played all season — they played for each other and played as a team,” Anker said. “We thought if they could carry that over into this game, we could give them a match.”
But the Knights (16-2) simply had too much speed, balance and depth for North Polk (14-6). It took just 40 seconds for Assumption to get on the board, and by the time the game was 10 minutes old, the Knights had a 3-0 advantage.
“Right away they showed their speed and their passing,” Anker said. “That kind of put us on our heels. They’re an outstanding team.”
Molly Gervase scored off a ball from Carly King just 40 seconds into the game, then King scored at the 3:20 mark off a ball from Sully Kelly. Gervase added another goal at the 8:38 mark off an assist by Livy Lansing.
North Polk settled down and played great defense the rest of the half. Maya Monk, Abi Zimmer, Sawyer Elwell, Haley Steffen, Abby Hill, Cassie Cox, Maddie Bruggeman and Katryn Halterman were able to slow the Knight attack down and cut off passing lanes to prevent too many good looks at the net.
Keeper Sydney Anderson was hurt early in the game, but Elwell stepped into her old position and performed admirably until Anderson was able to return.
Assumption’s only other goal of the first half came a little over 18 minutes into the game from Abbey Klostermann.
The Comet defense — aided by steady midfield play and help from the North Polk forwards — continued to play well early in the second half. But eventually Assumption started to wear North Polk down.
Kelly assisted on goals by Lansing and Sophia Kersten to push the Knight lead to 6-0 within the first 12 ½ minutes of the second half. Assumption added two more goals within a minute of each other during the final five minutes as Elli Ivanic and Lansing each scored once.
North Polk ended the season at 15-5. It was a tremendous follow-up to last year’s groundbreaking year, where the Comets made state for the first time, going 17-3 and reaching the 1A semifinals.
“This game didn’t turn out how we wanted, but I’m super-proud of my team,” North Polk senior Danielle Bonewitz said. “No one thought we could do it after last year. We had a lot of underclassmen that really stepped up this year. They knew everyone wanted to come here (to state) — they wanted to experience it.”
A large contingent of Comet faithful were also appreciative of getting the opportunity to cheer North Polk at state for the second year in a row.
“We have a lot of fans that came,” Bonewitz said. “We really appreciate it. It helps us a lot.”
Assumption went on to win its third-consecutive 1A state title. The Knights defeated Center Point-Urbana, 5-1, in the semifinals on Friday, then downed Bishop Heelan in the championship game on Saturday, 8-0, to finish 18-2 and win its sixth state championship in seven years.
Davenport Assumption 8, North Polk 0
NP 0 0 - 0
DA 4 4 - 8
DA - Molly Gervase (Carly King), 0:40.
DA - King (Sully Kelly), 3:20.
DA - Gervase (Livy Lansing), 8:38.
DA - Abbey Klostermann, 18:32.
DA - Lansing (Kelly), 48:23.
DA - Sophia Kersten (Kelly), 52:24.
DA - Elli Ivanic (Gervase), 74:49.
DA - Lansing (Autumn Kelly), 74:59.