DES MOINES — Sitting on 99 career goals, Carly King easily could have gone hunting.
Instead, the Assumption senior turned into a facilitator, assisting on the final four goals as the top-ranked Knights cruised to a 10-0 Class 1A quarterfinal win over Council Bluffs St. Albert on Thursday, opening up their third straight title defense in dominating fashion.
"In games like this, it's not often you get to score goals at the state tournament," King said. "So to be able to help my teammates score on the biggest stage there is, is really important to me."
King knows what it's like to score at the Cownie Soccer Complex. Along with five assists, King netted a hat trick and now has 15 career goals in state tournament play, breaking a tie with Rose Ripslinger and Molly Gervase for the most in state tournament history.
King's has close company. Teammate Livy Lansing also netted a hat trick Thursday and has 14 career state tournament goals.
King enters today's 11 a.m. game against Gilbert — the state's lone remaining unbeaten team — needing one goal to reach the century mark.
Even though King has been an elite goal scorer in her career, she's turned into a solid passer as well, now with a career-high 14 assists this season and 24 in her career, including the final one to Morgan Jennings that ended the game in the 70th minute.
"I think we give her a lot of credit because she's one, an amazing goal scorer, and two, she shares the ball," said senior defender Lauren Herrig, who headed in a cross from King in the 68th minute. "We utilize her so much I don't even think about it, but it's amazing."
King's best shot at the century mark came in the 63rd minute, but her shot from the left side was turned aside by St. Albert keeper Veronica Svajgl and landed on the foot of Elli Ivanic to put the Knights (18-1) up 7-0.
Ivanic added another goal in the 65th minute, burying another feed from King.
"Whenever (head coach Elizabeth) Maus puts me in, the only thing she tells me to do is score, so I know when I go in, that's all I have to do and I just go for it," Ivanic said. "We're all trying to help (King to 100), but she ended up helping me in the end."
Ivanic scored a goal in the state quarterfinal last year, when she set a career high with six goals on the season. This year, she's been battling patella tendinitis and entered Thursday with just three goals, so to score two in her senior year means a lot.
"That felt really good," said Ivanic, who has 14 goals in her career. "I wasn't expecting that today."
While the Knights scored 10 goals in a match for the eighth time this season, it took them a little time to reach that mark, leading just 2-0 at halftime on goals from King and Lansing.
After outscoring teams 21-1 in last year's state tournament, that score was something of a surprise.
"I think we were getting our nerves out, getting our energy back up," King said. "Maus was really just telling us to play our game. When we play wide and we play give and go, we're unstoppable."
Nerves? After three straight state titles?
"I think there's a lot of nerves always with younger players," King said. "There are some who have never been here before, some who have lesser experience, so the thing that's really important for us is for the more experienced players who have been here before, won before, to take them under our wing, calm their nerves and help them to play their game."
The Knights opened up the second half with four goals in the first eight minutes.
Assumption has outscored its last four quarterfinal opponents 34-0.
"There are a lot of high expectations but the good thing for us is a lot of the expectations come from the girls," Maus said. "They've seen what we've done in the past, and they want to do better, year after year. That's what we're seeing, after things didn't go as well as expected in the first half, they responded."