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Top-ranked Knights return to state for 13th straight year
GIRLS SOCCER | ASSUMPTION 3, IOWA CITY REGINA 0

Top-ranked Knights return to state for 13th straight year

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It wasn't a shellacking. It wasn't a walk in the park.

In the opening 20 minutes Monday night, Davenport Assumption's offense created plenty of chances against Iowa City Regina, but couldn't convert.

Five minutes later, the floodgates opened.

The top-ranked Knights, for the 13th consecutive year and 17th time overall, will be playing in Des Moines.

Three first-half goals in an eight-minute span proved plenty in Assumption's 3-0 regional final victory over the Regals at the St. Vincent Athletic Complex.

The Knights (17-1) will be the No. 1 seed when the state tournament opens Thursday and will face 10th-ranked St. Albert in the quarterfinals.

"It comes down to the work ethic of the girls," Assumption head coach Elizabeth Maus said. "They're very consistent in showing up and putting in hard work."

Making it to the Cownie Soccer Complex for the 13th year in a row ties the all-time mark with Cedar Rapids Xavier. The Knights remain one appearance behind Sioux City Bishop Heelan for most in the state.

That wasn't the only history made on a warm evening.

Carly King scored her 36th goal of the season in the 33rd minute, setting a new Mississippi Athletic Conference single season record. The senior Duke track and field recruit passed the mark set by Pleasant Valley's Tabor Stormo in the 1995 season.

"I came into this season with not a lot of expectations to be a high scorer," King said. "Just to be able to get that record and to score those goals is really special."

Assumption posted its fifth straight shutout since a 1-0 loss to Linn-Mar. The last goal it allowed in a win came against Pleasant Valley a month ago.

"Our defense has very good footwork," senior Sully Kelly said. "They have really good chemistry with each other."

After routing West Liberty and Columbus 10-0 to start the postseason, the Knights found goals hard to come by.

The game plan put into play by Regina (8-11) head coach Ann Larew was to hold in check King and Livy Lansing and have four-to-six players surrounding the 18-yard box.

"We pulled one of our midfielders back," Larew said. "They're very quick and it took us awhile to adjust."

For a while, it worked.

Despite getting outshot 23-0 in the first half, Regina's netminder Stephanie Stenger came up with 11 saves and the defense turned away nearly half of the shots.

"It's tough coming off of multiple games that we ended early," King said. "They had a lot packed in the back, so that was a challenge we had to overcome."

In the 25th minute, the Knights broke through.

Lansing fired a shot from the 18-yard box upper 90 past Stenger to give Assumption the lead.

Two minutes later, Lexi Moore scored from the same distance off an assist from Lansing to double the advantage.

"This was a good game to play going into the state tournament," Maus said. "To play a solid team like this, I like how things went tonight."

Regina loses just three seniors. It returns the top-four scorers and passers to next year's team.

"We've had a season full of many injuries and I could not be more proud of how we finished games," Larew said.

Maus doesn't believe her squad will look too far ahead to another state title.

"It's one day at a time for us," she said. "The good thing about having been there a few times, they understand that. Anyone can win on any given day."

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