Comets fall to Tigers in regional final

Joe RandlemanStaff Writer
Comets fall to Tigers in regional final

(Cody Goodwin contributed to this story)

GILBERT - The No. 7 North Polk girls’ soccer team fell one win shy of its ultimate goal after falling to No. 5 Gilbert, 3-1, in the Class 1A regional finals Monday in Gilbert.

North Polk found itself in a 2-0 hole after one half. The Comets made a valiant effort to come back, but they ran out of steam over the final 10 minutes, finishing the season at 16-3.

“We thought if we could battle through that first half and allow only one goal we’d have a chance,” North Polk head coach Jeff Anker said. “But that second goal really, really took the steam out of us. We were just, you know, not connecting passes.”

Julianna Battles scored 24 minutes, 26 seconds into the game for Gilbert’s first goal, Abigail Jaquis added the damaging second goal with just 27 seconds left in the half.

North Polk adjusted in the second half. The Comets played well for the first 30 minutes and with 12:37 left Courtney Bonewitz found the back of the net on a free kick to pull North Polk within 2-1.

Nine minutes later North Polk came close to knotting the score, but they were just off on another free kick. Gilbert then came right back with a strong possession and with just 1:29 to go, Olivia Stearns sewed up the game with a goal for the Tigers.

Despite the heartbreaking setback, Anker said his team cannot be disappointed with the record-breaking season it achieved. The Comets reached 16 wins, were ranked in the top 10 and won two postseason games to come within a game of reaching state for the first time.

“I wouldn’t trade this team for any other team in the state,” Anker said. “They’re awesome. Great attitude. It’s been our best season ever. We’ll continue to grow.”

Gilbert improved to 15-2 with the win. The Tigers face No. 4 Nevada (14-3-1) today in the 1A state quarterfinals at the Cownie Soccer Complex in Des Moines.

Gilbert 3, North Polk 1

NP 0 1 - 1

G 2 1 - 3

Scoring

First half

G - Julianna Battles, 24:26.

G - Abigail Jaquis, 39:33.

Second half

NP - Courtney Bonewitz, 67:23.

G - Olivia Stearns, 78:31.

ALLEMAN - North Polk won its first big showdown of the postseason in style Friday as the No. 7 Comets dominated No. 10 Nodaway Valley/Adair Casey/West Central Valley in the Class 1A regional semifinals, winning by a 5-0 margin at Alleman.

North Polk (16-2) fired off 13 shots on goal and gave up just three in an impressive performance. Gracie Harmeyer led an impenetrable Comet defense and keeper Sawyer Elwell made three saves in the Comets’ 13th shutout win of the season.

Courtney Bonewitz and Joy Smith turned in big games on offense for North Polk in the win. Bonewitz had two goals and one assist and Smith finished with one goal and three assists.

Katie Berglund produced one goal and assist apiece and Sydnee Wrage chipped in one goal. Hanna Becker added two assists for the Comets.

ALLEMAN - An early boost of energy from Joy Smith and great balance down the stretch helped No. 7 North Polk pull away from Des Moines Christian for a decisive 6-0 victory in the Class 1A regional quarterfinals of girls’ soccer May 31 at Alleman.

Smith scored the game’s first goal just two minutes, 22 seconds into the contest. She added another goal 20 minutes later and assisted Courtney Bonewitz on goal at the 27:05 mark to help North Polk build a 3-0 lead at the half.

“I just get really excited for games because I love to play,” Smith said. “I have a lot of energy. I feel like my energy probably does rub off on the team a little bit.”

In the second half, Bonewitz was the star.

Ten minutes into the second half Bonewitz subbed for her younger sister Danielle on a corner kick that resulted in a goal by Hanna Becker.

“In practice we both practice the corner kicks, but (Danielle) usually takes it because she’s a little stronger than me,” Bonewitz said. “I just went in there and did like I do in practice and it seemed to work.”

Bonewitz placed a beautiful ball for Becker - who stands 6-0 - to go up and head into the net.

“She’s my best friend so we work together well,” Bonewitz said. “I just aim for her head.”

Bonewitz added her second goal of the game at the 57:17 mark. Becker found Ali Teig with a nice ball and Teig got it over to Bonewitz for the score.

“I just knew I had to come in and play hard because (Des Moines Christian) was going to be a harder team to play,” Bonewitz said. “I just went out there and played as hard as I could.”

North Polk finished off the scoring at the 64:46 mark. Katie Berglund scored off an assist from Becker.

The Comet defense didn’t have to do much to earn the shutout. Keeper Sawyer Elwell made just one save on the evening.

Des Moines Christian ended the season with a 5-8 record.

North Polk 6, Des Moines Christian 0

DMC 0 0 - 0

NP 3 3 - 6

Scoring

First half

NP - Joy Smith, 2:22.

NP - Smith (Maddy Hill), 22:38.

NP - Courtney Bonewitz (Smith, Sydnee Wrage), 27:05.

Second half

NP - Hanna Becker (Bonewitz), 50:04.

NP - Bonewitz (Ali Teig and Becker), 57:17.

NP - Katie Berglund (Becker), 64:46.