As the final horn sounded, Cora Meyers leaped into the arms of her teammates, a giant smile on her face. She wasn't celebrating a state or Mississippi Athletic Conference title, but she was enjoying another marquee win for the Pleasant Valley girls soccer team as the Spartans beat Class 1A fourth-ranked Davenport Assumption 2-0, their first win over the Knights since 2011.
"It’s a great upset," Meyers said. "I know we aren’t going to be conference champions but to come out and prevent them from being conference champions, it means a lot."
The Class 2A No. 4 Spartans (12-4, 6-2) have done nothing but win lately. They've been victorious in eight straight games. Included in that span are wins over two defending state champions, Assumption and Class 2A champion North Scott, as well as Class 1A No. 2 Iowa City Regina and Class 3A No. 6 — and defending conference champion — Bettendorf.
"It prepares you for state and the goal obviously for us is to win state," Spartan coach Richard Markham said. "I think we're tested. We've played some very good teams this year and this is just another one."
After playing four games in the past three days, Pleasant Valley now has seven days off before its regular-season final against Clinton. The Spartans open regional play June 2, looking to get back to the state tournament, where they've lost in the semifinals the past two years.
Markham said the plan is to work on conditioning during the time off, hoping to get the Spartans in peak shape for the grind of the state tournament. Everything else seems to be clicking at the perfect time.
"I think this team is special for a lot of reasons," senior Andrea Aller said. "This is the right time to have a win streak so let's just keep it going."
Aller scored both goals in the game, the first coming on a free kick in the 28th minute and again in the 70th minute, giving the Spartans a cushion they didn't need as Meyers shut down the late Assumption pressure to post her sixth shutout of the year.
"They were fantastic," Assumption coach Jonathan Dreasler said. "They strung every pass together, everything was to feet, they were cool, calm and collected. PV was, a great game today for them."
Assumption (6-7, 5-2) drops a half-game back of Bettendorf and Muscatine for the conference lead, and even though the Bulldogs remain on their schedule, the Knights' hopes of a conference championship have taken a big hit. However the end goal — a fifth straight 1A state title — is still very much alive, provided the work is put in.
"We didn’t play well today, we didn’t string passes together and we didn’t have good first or second touches," Dreasler said. "This one, as much as it hurts and as much as it stinks that it happened to us, we’ve got to move on and that’s our next step."