Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – City High took the first step toward securing a state tournament berth on Wednesday.
It is next step that’s the big one for the Little Hawks.
Class 3A No. 13 City High advanced to the regional finals for the third straight season under head coach Michael Prunty with a 3-0 win over Des Moines Roosevelt (7-9) at the University of Iowa Soccer Field.
Next up for the Little Hawks a trip to Des Moines to face second-ranked West Des Moines Valley in the Region 3 title game on Monday at 6 p.m.
“We have moved past the point where we are happy to be in a regional final,” Prunty said. “We aren’t happy just to play in that game but the reality is we are playing one of the top three teams in the state.”
Sam Schroeder scored a pair of first half goals and Grace Brown scored three minutes into the second half to help City High (12-5) win for the eighth time in the last nine matches.
There was no celebration from City High after the win as the Little Hawks won their playoff opener for the third straight season.
“We aren’t as excited because it was kind of a sloppy game,” Brown said. “We left a lot of goals on the field and we know that if we are going to take the game on Monday we are going to have to be a lot sharper.”
Regional final appearances are nothing new for City High and neither is facing a highly ranked team in the game to go to state.
In 2015 City High fell to West Des Moines Dowling 3-0 in the regional final and last year the Little Hawks fell 1-0 to Cedar Rapids Kennedy.
“We need a full 80 minutes performance,” Prunty said. “Every year we have had just a small breakdown and we haven’t put together a full 80 minutes and to beat a good team that’s what we need.”
West Des Moines Valley defeated Southeast Polk 2-0 in the Region 3 semifinals and enters Monday’s regional final riding an eight-game winning streak.
The Tigers have outscored opponents 26-4 during their current win streak.
“I think we just need to go in with confidence,” Brown said. “I know in the past years we have gone in not being completely sure that we can pull it off so we just need to go in knowing that we can take the game if we put in our best performance.”
City High has had its own impressive stretch to close the regular season.
The Little Hawks won seven of its final eight regular season games and have posted shutouts in five of their last nine games after Wednesday’s blanking of the Rougriders.
“We are obviously playing a challenging team on Monday so we need to make sure that we are being sharp and we can move the ball fast,” Schroder said. “We know we are playing a big athletic team.”
Schroder got City High going on Wednesday when she slipped in a rebound shot after Madeline Pugh had a shot blocked by Roosevelt keeper Mia Kaufman.
“Once there is one goal there is a bit of relief,” Schroder said. “Everyone seemed to be more into the game after that.”
A second Schroder goal gave City High a 2-0 halftime lead.
Brown made it 3-0 when she walked into a shot from 40 yards out following a City High corner kick.
The senior center back placed the shot over Kaufman’s outstretched hands and under the crossbar.
“On the corner kicks I have been staying back a lot more and just waiting for the ball to pop out,” Brown said. “It came out to me and I thought I could hit it across the goalie so I just went for it.”
A four-year starter, Brown has one final chance to reach a state tournament on Monday against West Des Moines Valley.
“It’s a pretty big deal for me because I have played a lot of athletics at City High and I have never been to state,” Brown said. “This is my last chance so I am really excited and I really want to win it.”