Breaking Down Girls Regional Final Matches
By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
It’s championship week for girls soccer in Iowa.
Before state championships are awarded on Saturday at Cownie Soccer Complex in Des Moines the wild final week of the season opens with Regional finals in all three classes on Monday.
By Monday evening state tournament fields will be set, just a few days before the tournament opens on Thursday.
Regina, City High and West High are all seeking state tournament berths on Monday.
Defending state runners-up West High and Regina are looking to return to Des Moines to finish the job while City High is seeking its first tournament appearance since 2013.
Here is what to watch at the three regional finals involving area teams.
Class 3A Region 3
No. 13 City High (12-5) at No. 2 West Des Moines Valley (13-3)
When: Monday, 6 p.m.
Where: West Des Moines Valley
Player to Watch: Junior Hannah Olson is the top scorer (15 goals) in a West Des Moines Valley attack that has scored three goals or more in half of its matches this season.
Breakdown: Don’t expect a lot of goals in this one as two of the top defensive teams in Class 3A meet for a spot in the 3A state tournament.
West Des Moines Valley ranks fifth in 3A allowing 11 goals this season while City High has allowed 12 goals on the season.
City High is in a familiar situation in the regional final but has lost come up one game shy of a state tournament berth with road regional final losses each of the past two seasons.
The Little Hawks have won eight of nine entering Monday’s regional final and are seeking their first state tournament appearance since 2013.
“I think we are getting to where we want to be,” Sam Schroder said. “I think everyone is learning their spots and everything is getting put together.”
Senior Sydney Schroder leads City High with 11 goals and 7 assists while senior center back Grace Brown and senior Sophie Van Meter each have eight goals.
West Des Moines is seeking its fourth straight trip to state and brings an eight-match winning streak into the regional final.
The Tigers lone in-state losses have come to defending state champion Ankeny Centennial and top-ranked Waukee both in penalty kick shootouts.
“I definitely think we can compete,” Brown said. “We have a lot of speed and talent up top and in the back and I think we should be in the game and I know a lot of us are expecting to win.”
Class 3A Region 7
Cedar Rapids Prairie (9-8) at No. 3 West High (17-1)
When: Monday, 6 p.m.
Where: Ed Barker Field at West High
Player to Watch: West High senior all-stater Regan Steigleder has posted the best season of her career leading Class 3A with 33 goals while adding eight assists.
Breakdown: West High is attempting to run its streak of state tournament appearances to an even decade after reaching the 3A title game each of the past two seasons.
To return to state the Women of Troy must get past a rematch with Mississippi Valley Conference rival Cedar Rapids Prairie.
West High defeated Prairie 3-1 in Cedar Rapids on May 1 behind two goals from Emma Cooper and one from Steigleder.
Since a 2-1 loss to Linn-Mar on May 10 West High has scored 38 goals in five consecutive wins.
That stretch includes a 10-0 win over Clinton in the Region 7 opener last week.
Cooper and Steigleder have accounted for 55 of the 3A-leading 81 goals for West High this season.
Prairie has won five of its last six matches after knocking off Cedar Rapids Washington in the Region 7 semifinals.
The Hawks dropped to 4-7 on the season with a four-match losing skid that started with back-to-back losses to City High and West High but has outscored opponents 26-7 since.
Sophomore Sophia Meier leads Prairie with 11 goals while senior Cayla Renwick has eight goals and eight assists.
Class 1A Region 6
Regina (6-12) at No. 9 Central DeWitt (13-4)
When: Monday, 6 p.m.
Where: Central DeWitt High School
Player to Watch: Central DeWitt junior Maggie Murphy was a second-team Class 2A all-state pick last year and has put together another all-state type season leading the Sabers with 17 goals and 13 assists.
Breakdown: Regina doesn’t have the typical record for a state tournament team but the Regals believe that’s what they are.
A challenging schedule left Regina 3-11 entering the final week of the regular season but the Regals have won three of their last four including a pair of Region 6 wins over No. 15 West Liberty and Solon.
“Fortunately, they really are peaking at the right time and I don’t think they are at the top yet,” Regina coach Ann Larew said. “Now it’s coming together and they know what to do and I think they are going to continue to execute and play well together.
Defending 1A runner-up Regina now sits one win away from its sixth consecutive state tournament appearance.
“Our record now is 0-0,” Regina junior Greyson Dumont said. “We totally clear out the rest of the season and look at it as every match both teams are 0-0.”
Junior Lauren Gaarde leads the Regina attack with 19 goals while Anna Ziniel has added seven goals and seven assists.
After opening the season with back-to-back losses, Central DeWitt has won 13 of 15 while scoring for or more goals eight times.
The Sabers are led by the talented trio of Murphy, Sydney Small (15 goals) and Ashley Goldensoph (12 goals).