By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
No. 2 West Des Moines Valley (14-3) vs. No. 14 Ankeny (10-7)
A pair of CIML rivals and state tournament regulars open up the 3A tournament with a rematch of a 2-0 regular season win by West Des Moines Valley.
Valley was the last team to defeat Ankeny which enters riding a five-match winning streak after pulling the upset of the postseason by knocking off top-ranked Waukee 2-1 in the regional final.
Ankeny is making its eighth state tournament appearance in the past nine seasons and its first in Class 3A since it was the 3A title in 2013.
The Hawkettes added a 2A title in 2015 before missing out on state for the first time since 2008 last season.
Six-time champion Valley is making its fourth straight state tournament appearance but hasn’t been to a title game since winning its last championship in 2010.
Valley brings a nine-match winning streak into the state tournament after knocking off No. 13 City High 1-0 in the regional final.
The only two in-state losses for the Tigers came to top-ranked Waukee (3-2) and defending state champion Ankeny Centennial
No. 5 Ankeny Centennial (15-3) vs. No. 6 Bettendorf (17-2)
Defending champion Ankeny Centennial returns to defend its title but will have its hands full in the quarterfinals with a Bettendorf team that leads 3A allowing just nine goals on the season.
Ankeny Centennial already got a taste of how difficult it can be to score against the Bulldogs as Bettendorf defeated the Jaguars in a penalty kick shootout after 100 minutes of scoreless soccer in a regular season meeting on April 21 in Ankeny.
The rematch comes with spot in the state semifinals on the line but don’t expect a much different outcome.
Bettendorf leads the 3A field with 13 shutouts this season and has allowed three total goals during its current eight-match winning streak.
Ankeny Centennial has been nearly as impressive on defense.
The Jaguars have allowed 12 goals on the season and have yet to allow more than one goal in a match.
Senior Alina Steffen is the top offensive threat for Bettendorf with 19 goals and six assists while Ankeny Centennial has five players with more than five goals led by Lizzy Johnson with 10.
No. 3 West High (18-1) vs. No. 12 West Des Moines Dowling (12-5)
West High returns to the state tournament for the 10th straight season and has done so in impressive fashion.
The Women of Troy have scored a 3A best 92 goals, 14 more than any other team, while holding opponents to 11.
Regan Steigleder and Emma Cooper give West High the top attacking duo in the state and have combined for 62 goals.
West High has won six straight matches since its only loss of the season to Linn-Mar on May 10 and has outscored teams 42-3 during that stretch.
West Des Moines Dowling is making its sixth appearance in seven years after missing out last season for the first time since 2010.
The Maroons are battle tested with all four in-state losses for Dowling coming to 3A state qualifiers.
Dowling closed the regular season with four consecutive matches against 3A qualifiers, losing three, before winning back-to-back regional matches including a 2-1 win over No. 9 Johnston in the regional final.
No. 4 Ames (14-3) vs. No. 7 Cedar Rapids Kennedy (13-5)
A regular at the state tournament over the last decade, Cedar Rapids Kennedy is back at state for the fourth straight season.
The Cougars have reached the semifinals three of the past five seasons, winning state titles in 2012 and 2014.
Kennedy has lost just three matches to in-state competition, two coming to state qualifiers by one goal.
Senior Emily Sass is the only Kennedy player with more than seven goals, scoring a team-high 17.
Ames returns to the state tournament for the first time since 2007 and enters riding a four-match winning streak it which it outscored teams 20-1.
The duo of Grace Nelson and Hartley Christensen has combined to account for 39 of Ames’ 60 goals this season and are the only Little Cyclones with more than six scores.
WEST DES MOINES VALLEY: Abbey VanWyngarden, Soph. Has had a hand in 18 of the Tigers’ 57 goals this season with 11 scores and a team-high seven assists including one that led to the only score in a 1-0 Regional final win over City High.
ANKENY: Chloee Kooker, Soph. Ranks fourth in Class 3A with 25 goals and also has a team-high nine assists.
ANKENY CENTENNIAL: Nahomi Lopez, Jr. A second-team all-state pick last season, Lopez has allowed just five goals and made 26 saves this season for the defending 3A champions.
BETTENDORF: Justine Pearson, Jr. Keeper has helped Bulldogs post 13 shutouts and allow just nine goals this season, second fewest in 3A.
WEST HIGH: Regan Steigleder Sr./Emma Cooper, Sr. The top goal scorer in Class 3A (Steigleder with 36) and the 3A leader in assists (Cooper with 21) give West High the most dangerous offensive combination in the state.
WEST DES MOINES DOWLING: Vivian Broderick, Sr. A consistent performer, ranks second on the team with seven goals and leads the Maroons with seven assists.
AMES: Grace Nelson, Jr. Leads the Little Cyclones with 22 goals and has scored in three straight matches entering state quarterfinals.
CEDAR RAPIDS KENNEDY: Emily Sass, Sr. The only Kennedy player with double digit goals, Sass had three of her team-high 17 goals this season in a regional final win over Dubuque Hempstead.
All of the big hitters are in the 3A field with the last four teams to win a big school title all in the field.
West High and Ankeny Centennial can only meet in a title game rematch but with quarterfinal wins both teams could face a regular season rematch in the semifinals.
The wildcard could be Bettendorf which has been a state tournament regular but hasn’t been to a title game since 2010.
Class 3A has been considered an open race all season but with top-ranked Waukee going down in the regional final the field is as open as ever.
West High enters with the best record in 3A, has played for the state title each of the past two seasons and has one of the best scoring duos in state history on its side.
Defending champion Ankeny Centennial figures to be in the mix along with second-ranked West Des Moines Valley.
Over the last ten years every big class title has been won by a team from the Mississippi Valley Conference or the Central Iowa Metro League.
The CIML has won six titles and the MVC four during that span and the two conferences have split the last eight titles.
This season the CIML has five of the eight qualifiers with the only MVC teams to win a title in the past decade, Cedar Rapids Kennedy and West High carrying the flag for MVC again.
Five Fast Facts
1. Teams responsible for last 14 big school titles are all in the 3A field (Valley, CR Kennedy, West High and Ankeny).
2. West High seniors Regan Steigleder and Emma Cooper have combined for 62 goals, more than all but five Class 3A teams have scored this season.
3. Steigleder leads Class 3A with 36 goals, the most for a 3A player in more than seven seasons.
4. Six teams in the Class 3A field have won a title with Valley, Ankeny, West High, Ankeny Centennial, Cedar Rapids Kennedy and Bettendorf combining for 16 championships.
5. Bettendorf has posted shutouts in 13 of its 19 matches this season, most among 3A qualifiers.
West Des Moines Valley (14-3) vs. Ankeny (10-7), 5 p.m.
Ankeny Centennial (15-3) vs. Bettendorf (17-2), 5:15 p.m.
West High (17-1) vs. West Des Moines Dowling (12-5), 5:30 p.m.
Ames (14-3) vs. Cedar Rapids Kennedy (13-5), 5:45 p.m.
West Des Moines Valley/Ankeny winner vs. Ankeny Centennial/Bettendorf winner, 5 p.m.
West High/West Des Moines Dowling winner vs. Ames/Cedar Rapids Kennedy winner, 5:15 p.m.
Semifinal Winners, 4 p.m.