Bettendorf's depth continues to be a big asset this season.
Yes, the Bulldogs boast five seniors and three Division I players, but there's plenty of talent up and down the roster.
Tuesday night was no exception as Class 3A No. 8 Bettendorf got two goals each from sophomores Sophia Utsinger and Audrey Whitaker to grab a 4-0 win over Class 2A No. 10 North Scott at The Pitch.
The win keeps Bettendorf a game back of Assumption for the Mississippi Athletic Conference lead.
"We just really work together as a unit and that's really what a team needs," Whitaker said. "At the beginning of the season, we worked a little bit as individuals but throughout the season, we've developed as more of a team."
Utsinger put Bettendorf (9-3, 6-1) on the board in the 27th minute, firing a shot from just outside the 18. Five minutes later, she added her second, jumping on a clear out, spitting the North Scott (8-5, 4-3) defense and firing for her team-leading eighth goal of the season.
"North Scott always plays us tough so we knew we had to bring all we've got," Utsinger said. "We definitely started off a little slow but after the first goal, we all picked it up a little bit."
Whitaker added her goals in the second half, jumping on a loose ball in the box in the 52nd minute, then firing a strike from about 20 yards out in the 66th minute for her second goal of the season.
The Bulldogs have been without senior Elizabeth Park for the past four games but the Valparaiso commit is expected to return for Saturday's game against Xavier. Winning those games has given the younger players additional confidence moving forward.
"Without Liz, we had to pick it up and we know that," Whitaker said. "She's helped us as much as she can, communicate with us throughout everything. We just try to listen to her because we know she's got some good things to say."
Since a 1-0 loss to Ankeny Centennial dropped Bettendorf to 4-3, the Bulldogs have reeled off five straight wins, averaging four goals per contest.
"The biggest thing that's standing out to me right now, starting out the season against teams with great pace like Assumption and Ankeny Centennial, they forced us to step up our pace and counter press," Bettendorf head coach Todd Hornaday said. "You could see that very clearly tonight ... the way we're pressing right now, yeah, our early season competition dealt us a couple losses but it forced us to pick up our speed of play in transition and that's the key to why we're doing so well right now."
Meanwhile, the Lancers are doing some inward looking after suffering their second MAC loss by four goals or more this season. It's the first time since 2011 the Lancers have suffered two such conference losses and the result could have been even worse without the play of Teagan Goodney, who made seven saves in net.
"The one thing we've always hung our hat on is grinding things out and playing harder than anybody else," North Scott head coach Dion Ayers said. "In the Assumption and Bettendorf games, we didn't play hard. That game tonight could have been 10-0 tonight if it wasn't for Teagan back there. ... It shouldn't come down to that.
"Right now, we've just got to worry about the next day ... we've got a lot to clean up."