MUSCATINE – A lot has been accomplished in seven years.
A high-school girls’ soccer program was started, one that has never had a losing season. A thriving kids program that feeds into the prep program was built.
Back-to-back state tournament appearances have happened the last two years.
But the next step for the Center Point-Urbana Stormin’ Pointers is obvious. They’re confident they’ll achieve it.
“It’s just been a constant growth for seven years,” co-coach Todd Mitchell said after his club’s 5-0 loss Thursday afternoon to Davenport Assumption in a Class 1A quarterfinal. “Last year was a milestone, to get here. This year, we’d obviously would have liked to take another step.
“But we’ve got some really strong eighth-graders coming in, so we feel like we’re just not going to be satisfied just to get here next year. Next year, we’ve got to take it to somebody. I hope it’s not Assumption again. But if it is, we’re going to shock them.”
Mitchell and co-coach Rich Plante couldn’t explain why their team got paired immediately again with Assumption. You talk about your tough draws.
“I wish I knew. I’ve got my ideas,” Mitchell said. “I think it’s because Solon and that region played Assumption earlier in the year, so maybe they didn’t want to have the same people play here. I wish they’d say west plays east. I wish we’d play a team from the western side of the state that we didn’t play all year. That makes more sense to me. But they didn’t, and we meet those guys two years in a row. That’s a little bit frustrating.”
The defending champion and top-ranked Knights (21-0) got goals from Grace Fennelly, Rose Ripslinger (on a penalty kick) and Maddie Irmen in the first half to win handily. Irmen and Danielle Moore scored in the second half.
This was quite the opposite of last year’s quarterfinal game, in which Assumption eked out a 1-0 win.
“It felt a lot more comfortable this year,” said sophomore Risplinger, who has a team-leading 27 goals.
“I wanted to play them,” said CP-U senior defender Amanda Greenfield, who was slowed by a second-half knee injury. “We’ve played them once. I had fun playing them last year, it was a really close game. I wanted to play them again. I thought the team was excited to.”
Well, at least they were for the first few minutes. It was all Assumption in the first half, obviously, with Center Point-Urbana owning more of the ball in the final 40 minutes.
A limping Greenfield having to be helped off the field postgame by a teammate kind of summed up the day, though.
“I’m proud of everyone,” she said. “I love that it’s a team thing, and we all get there together. That we practice together every day. Our hard work paid off this season, definitely.”