DES MOINES — Complete and utter dominance.
Assumption left little doubt this weekend on who is the best team in the state, beating Center Point-Urbana 3-0 Saturday to win its second straight Class 1A state championship, sixth in the last seven years, and eighth overall.
“We really show up when we come to the state tournament and we work so extremely hard the entire year to get to this point and it’s just gratifying knowing you’re the state champs again,” sophomore defender Bridget Poster said. “Not crying this year but it’s just an amazing feeling.
“It’s still the greatest thing in the world and something we want to repeat again and again and again.”
From the start to the celebration at Cownie Soccer Park, the Knights won in as business-like a fashion as possible. They set state tournament records in the three-class era for goals in a game with nine and goals in a tournament with 14. The Knights didn’t allow a goal for the second straight postseason.
“Coming in we wanted to make a statement, we wanted to prove we were the best team here in our class,” junior midfielder Molly Gervase said. “We wanted to come out and battle for every single play and come out with the state championship and that’s what we did.”
Poster, Gervase, keeper Anna Vonderhaar and forward Carly King were named to the all-tournament team, with Gervase earning the captain’s spot.
North Scott’s Karli Rucker and Lauren Blake were named to the Class 2A all-tournament team.
Assumption jumped quickly on the Stormin’ Pointers, with Sully Kelly scoring her second goal of the tournament in the ninth minute. In all three games this weekend, the Knights scored the first goal in the first 11 minutes.
“I think it was very important,” Assumption coach Elizabeth Maus said. “Sometimes we have a tendency to just sit back and settle in and then let one sneak in there but they did a great job of starting right from the start and keeping up their endurance and outhustling the other teams.”
The Knights showed that hustle coming out of the first water break as Carly King burst down the field and found Livy Lansing for a goal in the 21st minute to put Assumption up 2-0.
CPU (17-5) had its best chance to get on the board early in the second half. One of the only Assumption defensive lapses left Alexa Brooker all alone in front of a wide-open net, but Brooker’s shot sailed wide of the goal and the Stormin’ Pointers rarely threatened again.
Assumption’s back line was perhaps even more dominant than it was last year, allowing just 11 total shots, only eight on goal. They were all saved by Vonderhaar, who was stellar in her tournament debut.
Offensively, Assumption controlled play with the wind in the second half but missed on some quality looks, including a shot from King that just sailed over the post in the 58th minute.
Two minutes later, King finally buried the record 14th goal of the tournament.
“I don’t even know if we knew about that record. We were just looking to finish, possess the ball when we could and put it into the back of the net to secure our lead in that game,” King said. “I was so glad to finally get that one. We had lots of shots, I had a lot of shots that I took and to finish them in a situation where it matters most is really rewarding.”
The state title caps a dominant year for the program. The Knights finished 19-2 and outscored their opponents 83-9 this season, 30-0 in the postseason and 14-0 in the state tournament.
After briefly slipping up in 2015, Assumption now looks poised to start another run of titles. The Knights lose just four seniors — two starters — and return their top three scorers in Gervase, King and Kelly.
The four seniors leave as winners of three state titles with the program.
“As a senior it’s exciting leading a whole bunch of younger kids. They look up to me and I try to be that person, just always encouraging them. They’re really fun and young and it’s exciting,” senior Liz Fennelly said. “It’s an incredible feeling and to go out and end it this way, it’s awesome.”