Your Prep Sports
The postseason for girls soccer official got underway on Tuesday with opening round matches in Class 1A.
Things really heat up the rest of the week with regional quarterfinals in all three classes on tap.
Spots at the state tournament will be up for grabs next week with regional finals in all classes set for May 26.
As area teams prep for a postseason push we take a look at what to keep an eye out for when Your Prep Sports area teams hit the pitch in the postseason.
Bears Keep Building
The West Branch soccer program has been on a steady ascent since its debut season in 2019.
West Branch has posted a new program record for wins for the third consecutive season going from two wins in its first season to five last year before posting six victories this season.
The sixth win this season was another historic mark, the first postseason win in program history, a 2-0 victory over Cedar Valley Christian in a Class 1A, Region 6 opener on Monday.
West Branch (6-8) will travel to Vinton-Shellsburg (11-4) for a regional quarterfinal on Wednesday.
Goals for Grace
After a stellar debut a year ago Regina junior Grace Gaarde has continued to build a resume as one of the state’s top goal scorers this spring.
Gaarde scored 29 goals last season as a sophomore and enters Wednesday’s Class 1A, Region 5 quarterfinal against West Delaware (0-15) ranked eighth in Class 1A with 25 goals.
That gives Gaarde 54 career goals in 32 matches.
Gaarde has eight multi-goal games this season including four in a win over Anamosa and the Regals are 10-2 this season when Gaarde finds the net.
Solon enters the postseason playing perhaps its best soccer of the season at precisely the right time.
Since back-to-back losses to ranked opponents Mount Vernon and Center Point-Urbana on April 29 and May 3 the Spartans have posted five consecutive shutouts.
Ninth-ranked Solon (14-3) has outscored foes 10-0 during its current five-match winning streak which includes wins over ranked teams Vinton-Shellsburg and Independence.
Solon will need to stay hot to navigate a 1A, Region 7 bracket that has just one team below .500.
The Spartans host Mid-Prairie (9-5) on Wednesday and would get the winner of Central Lee (10-4) and Washington (9-6) at a semifinal at Spartan Stadium on May 24 with a win.
Eighth-ranked Van Meter (8-5) is the top seed and would host a regional final.
Close Call Clippers
It was a season filled with close calls for Clear Creek Amana.
Six of the seven losses for Clear Creek Amana (9-7) came by a single goal including five by a score of 1-0.
The key for another postseason run for Matt Harding and the Clippers is fairly straightforward – turning those close calls into wins.
It’s not as if that isn’t a distinct possibility either.
All seven of the losses for the Clippers this season came to ranked opponents including three to top-10 teams.
Clear Creek Amana hosts the winner of Fort Madison (11-3) and Keokuk (4-13) in a 2A, Region 7 semifinal on May 24 and would likely travel to fifth-ranked and top-seeded Cedar Rapids Xavier (9-3) for the regional final on May 26.
Red-hot Little Hawks
Few teams in Class 3A enter the postseason playing as well as No. 11 City High.
The Little Hawks bring a six-match winning streak into their regular season finale on Tuesday against Liberty High and have outscored opponents 25-2 during that stretch.
The late season surge for City High has been spurred by defense.
After allowing 15 goals in three losses in a 4-3 start to the season City High has posted shutouts in four of its final six matches and hasn’t allowed more than one goal in a single match during that stretch.
City High opens the season postseason at home on May 24 against the winner of the 3A, Region 6 quarterfinal between Cedar Rapids Kennedy (8-5) and Cedar Rapids Jefferson (3-6).
Fifth-ranked Waukee Northwest (13-2) is the top see and would host a regional final.
Here Comes West High
Stop if you’ve heard this before but West High appears to be playing its best soccer entering the postseason.
The Trojans have won five of six since a four-match losing skid midway through the season and enter the regular season finale against 2A fifth-ranked Cedar Rapids Xavier on Tuesday at 7-6 on the season.
All six losses this season for West High have come to ranked teams including five to top-10 teams and things won’t get any easier in the postseason.
West High hosts Davenport Central (6-8) in a 3A, Region 8 quarterfinal on Friday and would travel to top-seed and No. 7 Pleasant Valley (11-4) with a win.
The Spartans defeated West High 6-0 back on April 22 in Bettendorf.
A likely title game opponent is ninth-ranked Bettendorf who downed West High 4-1 in April.
Liberty High (7-8) has held up well against the rigors of a largely-Class 3A schedule this season.
The Lightning will attempt to use that rugged regular season to help navigate a challenging regional draw.
Liberty High travels to Mount Pleasant (7-8) for a 2A, Region 5 quarterfinal on Friday and with a win earns a trip to No. 13 Pella (9-6) on May 24.
Second-ranked Norwalk (13-3) is the top seed in Region 5 and would host a regional title game.
Liberty High has what it takes to make a postseason run, namely experience against high quality opponents, a dynamic scorer in senior Grace Heddens (18 goals) and a veteran keeper in Sam Harvey.