Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – Two seasons ago Pleasant Valley further solidified itself as a perennial power with another appearance at state while City High continued its own ascension posting a fifth consecutive winning season.
Last spring the coronavirus pandemic caused the cancellation the season before either team got a chance to see what they could do.
In the season opener for both teams on Monday, Pleasant Valley and City High once again looked like programs poised for a postseason run.
Pleasant Valley scored the only goal of the match nine minutes in on its way to a 1-0 win over City High on a sunny and breezy afternoon in Iowa City.
“Pleasant Valley is usually the first or second game of the season and every single year they bring a tough time for us which is good, it’s nice to play a tough team right away it exposes our weaknesses and shows us exactly what we need to work on,” City High coach Corbin Scholz said. “Pleasant Valley is a really great team and us hanging with them the whole time and us getting better and better progressively throughout the game I am really excited about our team.”
The first career goal from Pleasant Valley Morgan Russman in the ninth minute held up as the game winner as City High couldn’t crack a Spartan defense spearheaded by sophomore keeper Caleigh Schlichte.
Despite the loss the Little Hawks saw a long list of positives on Monday.
Mostly, the Little Hawks saw the season-opening loss for what it was – a pair of good teams built on strong defenses.
“I honestly was proud of our team,” City High senior Stella Foster said. “This was our first actual game and we need to work as a team a little more but I think it was a really good start.”
Pleasant Valley seized control early while operating with a steady breeze at its back.
Russman scored off an assist from Jayne Abraham to give the Spartans a 1-0 lead just nine minutes into the match.
As play went on, City High seemed to get better.
“We have a really strong team, we have some injuries we are working through right now and we have a really young team,” Scholz said. “Most of our players are true freshman and redshirt freshman as I call them so as the game went on I think they got more comfortable.”
City High used its own strong defensive effort to stay within striking distance.
Junior keeper Sara Cassady had several nifty saves including a diving stop of a Camryn Woods shot from inside the box with 10 minutes remaining.
“It’s just a matter of being consistent,” City High senior Callie Menzel said. “We’ve had really good patches but then sometimes we have some really bad patches.”
City High had its best opportunity at an equalizer in the 56th minute.
Cecilia Sileo slipped a cross to Mia DePrenger in front of the goal but DePrenger’s shot deflected off the football of a defender.
“Toward the end of the game I was so ecstatic that we were able to show some of the things that we worked on between on our scrimmage and today,” Scholz said. “This being our first game on the field and the first time these girls have been together I thought it was really good.”
City High won’t have to wait long for a chance to show its improvement.
The Little Hawks return to action on Thursday when they travel to Mount Vernon.
“It’s still really early and I know that we are just going to keep getting better from here,” Menzel said. “Knowing how we played today against a good team but how much better we can get is really exciting.”