ANKENY – An early mishap wasn’t enough to deter Nevada against Ankeny Centennial in a battle between two top-three programs Monday in Ankeny as the Cubs pulled off a 2-1 victory over the Jaguars to remain undefeated.
The Cubs, ranked third in Class 1A, trailed the No. 2 2A team 20 minutes into the game after a questionable tripping penalty set up a direct kick goal by Ankeny Centennial’s Jessie Ault.
But Nevada regrouped and started pressuring the Jaguars. Cub head coach Randy Davis switched formations to give the team momentum, and Jessica Helton tied the game for the Cubs at the 25-minute mark.
Helton had just had a shot go off the top bar before scoring her goal off an assist from Michaela Matuska.
“The girls did a great job of responding,” Davis said. “They just continued to play their game.”
The score remained 1-1 when the first half came to a close. Davis was pleased with how things were going, so he stuck with the same game plan in the second half and it paid off.
Helton and Abby Stephenson both had shots go just off the mark in the opening 25 minutes of the second half. Then during the 65th minute, the Cubs caught the break they were looking for.
Elli Cassabaum received a pass from Helton at the top of the 18-yard box, spun her defender and fired off a shot.
“I knew it was a goal before it even left her foot,” Davis said. “Our forwards and midfielders are so dangerous. When they are playing together and passing the ball, they can create so many scoring opportunities.”
Cassabaum’s go-ahead goal left it up to the Cub defense to maintain the edge for 15 more minutes. Nevada’s defensive rotation of Raegan Saunders, Kaylee Kruschwitz, Lexi Kruschwitz, Mara Rhodes and Ally West helped keeper Clara Sporrer keep the Jaguars off the board down the stretch to wrap up the big victory.
“Defensively, we were sound the entire game,” Davis said. “We only gave up eight shots on goal – just two in the first half. To only give up eight shots and one goal coming off a direct kick is a job well done. This was a big win for the girls.”
The victory put Nevada at 7-0 on the season. Ankeny Centennial fell to 3-1.
Nevada 2, Ankeny Centennial 1
N 1 1 – 2
AC 1 0 – 1
AC – Jessie Ault, 16th minute
N – Jessica Helton (Michaela Matuska), 25th minute
N – Elli Cassabaum (Helton), 65th minute
MONROE – It was no contest when Nevada took on Prairie City-Monroe April 15 in Monroe as the Cubs blasted the Mustangs, 10-0, in a game that was called just five minutes into the second half due to the 10-goal mercy rule.
Nevada had two different players pick up at least three goals and assist apiece.
Freshman Abby Stephenson picked up a hat-trick plus one - scoring an impressive four goals - and she handed out three assists for the Cubs. Senior forward Jessica finished with three goals and assists apiece.
Michaela Matuska came through with one goal and two assists and Elli Cassabaum recorded one goal and one assist. Emma Lodestein chipped in one goal and Clara Sporer made two saves at keeper.