When the Ankeny girls’ soccer program began in 1996, the Hawkettes didn’t immediately find success.
Ankeny struggled in its first three seasons, going a combined 12-33-1 under coach Rhonda Fors. However, Fors turned the program around in 1999, guiding the Hawkettes to a 12-7 record for their first winning season.
Since then, the Ankeny program eventually became one of the state’s best under coach Chris Allen, who won a pair of state titles before moving across town to Ankeny Centennial, where he has guided the Jaguars to two more crowns.
Meanwhile, Ankeny won another state title in 2015 under coach Lacey Woolf, who then departed to take a job in Tennessee. Her replacement, Dan Bertsch, led the Hawkettes to a runner-up finish in 2018, setting the stage for Ankeny to capture another crown in 2019 under first-year coach Simon Brown.
In all, the community has now won six state championships. The 2018 Class 3A final was an all-Ankeny affair that was won by Centennial, 3-2.
Many of the players who competed in that game are now playing at the collegiate level.
“I know this is high school soccer, but without Iowa Rush club coach Daryl Brazeau none of this would be possible,” said Bertsch. “He was instrumental in molding many of the girls, if not this complete list, into prominent soccer players that were sought after by some of the top colleges in the region.”
Here, then, is the Ankeny Fanatic all-time Ankeny girls’ soccer team, comprised of three complete squads:
Megan Fisher, forward: She was one of the most productive scorers in school history, racking up 59 goals in her final three years. As a sophomore in 2008, she had 16 goals and seven assists for a team that went 13-2 and tied for the CIML Central Conference title in Allen’s first season. As a junior, Fisher tied a school record with five goals in a win over Des Moines Roosevelt and went on to score 19 goals as Ankeny advanced to the state tournament for the first time in school history, losing to eventual champion Cedar Rapids Kennedy in the Class 2A semifinals. She was an all-tournament pick and was selected to the all-state second team. In 2010, Fisher scored 24 goals and had 12 assists as the Hawkettes won their first 18 games before being upset by Bettendorf, 3-2, in the Class 2A semifinals. She was voted team MVP and went on to play for Drake. “Megan studied the game,” said Allen. “She knew where to be and when to be there. I loved to coach and watch her play because she simply enjoyed being a part of the game—it was pure. She played in attacking positions for Ankeny in high school but went on to play defense in college with the ability to move up the field when her team needed scoring chances.”
Leslie Hansell, forward: She played a huge role in putting the Ankeny program on the Iowa high school soccer map, combining with teammate Jackie Hood to lead the Hawkettes to a 45-17 record from 1999-2002. “They were both three-year captains, and they made everybody else on the team play up to their level,” Fors said of the duo at the time. Hansell scored three goals in her first varsity game and went on to score 90 in her career, setting a school record that still stands. As a freshman, she produced 21 goals and eight assists and was the only ninth-grader on the all-conference first team. In 2000, she set a school record with five goals in a win over eventual state qualifier Des Moines Hoover. Hansell went on to finish with 30 goals and nine assists, breaking her own school marks. She was named team MVP and earned second-team all-state honors. After scoring 16 goals as a junior, she led Ankeny to a 13-3 record for the best season in school history in 2002. She scored 23 goals and shared the team MVP award with Hood. She was a first-team all-conference pick for the fourth straight year and was also named to the elite all-state team. She went on to play for Iowa State.
Mackenzie Misel, forward: She teamed up with Fisher to form perhaps the most explosive offensive duo in school history. After scoring 15 goals as a freshman, Misel had 16 goals and eight assists in 2008, when she led Ankeny to a regional final and earned second-team all-state honors. As a junior, she led the Hawkettes to a conference title and a 17-3 record. She had two goals and two assists as Ankeny posted a 5-3 victory over Pleasant Valley in the school’s state tournament debut. She was named to the all-tournament team. Misel finished with 24 goals and 11 assists and was selected to the elite all-state team. As a senior, she again had 24 goals and 11 assists for a team that won another conference title and outscored its opponents by a 100-5 margin. She again was named to the all-tournament team and also repeated as a first-team all-state pick. Misel, who finished her career with 79 goals, was voted team MVP. She was named Iowa’s Gatorade player of the year and went on to play for Minnesota. “Misel could be astonishing on the ball,” Allen said. “She had strength, speed, and technical savvy. Opponents would change the way they played around her attacking ability.”
Meg Brandt, midfielder: She is one of the most decorated players in the state’s history. As a freshman, she burst onto the scene by helping Ankeny to a 22-0 record and the Class 3A state title in 2013–its final season as one varsity program. She was named the captain of the all-tournament team. The Hawkettes finished the year ranked No. 2 in the nation. Brandt then moved across town to Centennial, where she scored 11 goals and had eight assists as a junior, helping the Jaguars to a 14-5 mark. She was named to the all-state first team. As a senior, she led Centennial to a 21-1 record and its first state title. She scored a goal in the Jaguars’ 2-1 win over Iowa City West in the championship game and was named the captain of the all-tournament team. She finished the season with 23 goals and nine assists. She again was selected to the all-state first team and was also a two-time Gatorade player of the year. Brandt went on to become a four-year starter at Nebraska, where she was a third-team all-Big Ten pick as a sophomore in 2017 and was selected to the Big Ten all-tournament team in 2018. After spending some time with the U.S. Women’s National Team in both 2018 and 2019, she was selected by OL Reign in the fourth round of the 2020 NWSL draft in January. “Meg showed up for every practice and every game,” Allen said. “She is a competitor and a team player through and through. As a captain, she led best through example, but when she spoke, everyone listened.” We’ll make her the co-captain of our all-time team.
Kelsey Hood, midfielder: She played on the varsity with her sister as an eighth grader and freshman before focusing on club soccer, then rejoined Ankeny’s squad as a senior in 2005 and helped the Hawkettes to a 15-1 record and the Central Conference title for the first league crown in school history. She had 11 goals and 12 assists for a team that won its first 15 games before losing at Johnston in a Class 2A regional semifinal. She was named team MVP and received all-state honorable mention. She was also the starting point guard for the girls’ basketball team that won a record four consecutive state championships. Hood was the first top 100 soccer recruit ever signed by Minnesota. She was named to the all-Big Ten Freshman Team in 2005 and was a three-time all-conference pick, including a first-team selection in 2008, when she was also the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. A second-team all-American, she went on to play professionally for several teams. She was the MVP for the United Women’s Soccer League’s Vancouver Whitecaps in 2011 and New England Mutiny in 2012. She played for three different Toppserien teams, the premier league in Norway, before joining Fredrikstad FFK of Norway (2nd Division) as a player/coach in 2018-19. She is currently training for the upcoming season. Hood has been named a captain on all the teams she has played on, and we’ll make her the co-captain of our squad along with Brandt.
Maggie Riley, midfielder: She was a four-time all-conference pick from 2009-12, helping Ankeny to a 76-6 record during that stretch. She played on the Hawkettes’ first state tournament team as a freshman, when she contributed six assists. In 2010, she had nine goals and five assists as Ankeny defended its conference title and again reached the Class 2A semifinals. She scored both of the team’s goals in the season-ending loss to Bettendorf. As a junior, Riley played a key role as the Hawkettes captured their first state championship. She converted penalty kicks in the quarterfinal win over Cedar Rapids Washington and in the title game against Iowa City West, then was named to the all-tournament team. She finished the season with seven goals and six assists. In 2012, Riley helped Ankeny to a runner-up finish in Class 3A. The Hawkettes won their first 20 games before falling to Cedar Rapids Kennedy, 2-1, in the final. The loss snapped a 31-game winning streak for Ankeny, which was ranked as high as fourth in the nation. Riley was a repeat pick to the all-tournament team. She was voted team MVP and was also named to the all-state first team. She went on to play for Northern Iowa and is now an assistant coach at Centennial. “When Maggie played, it seemed like she took it personally if an opponent had more than two touches in the midfield,” Allen said. “She closed aggressively and moved the ball on quickly to create attacking opportunities. She gave her all in and out of possession. If a team took her attacking abilities for granted, she could remind them of her prowess with a shot on target from distance.”
Olivia Brown, defender: She was a stalwart on Centennial’s state tournament teams in 2017-18, leading the Jaguars to the Class 3A crown in her senior season. As a junior, Brown helped Centennial to a 16-4 record. The Jaguars reached the semifinals before losing to Valley. She was named to the all-tournament team and earned first-team all-state honors. In 2018, she contributed seven goals and four assists as Centennial went 20-2 and claimed its second title. She had four of her goals during the state tournament and was named captain of the all-tournament team. She also repeated as a first-team all-state selection. She is now playing at Nebraska. “Brown had the ability to combine incredible athleticism with technical skill,” Allen said. “Her run of headers for goals during postseason play in 2018 was absolutely incredible. She and Tori Ubben made an incredible tandem that complemented one another well.”
Chloee Kooker, defender: She was a high-scoring forward as a sophomore in 2017, when she had 25 goals and nine assists while leading Ankeny to a state tournament berth. She earned second-team all-state honors. “Chloee coming out to play high school soccer her sophomore season was the beginning of the resurgence of Ankeny’s program–a breath of fresh air after the split of the two high schools,” Bertsch said. “Without her, our success would have never happened. She is one of the most dominant positional players I have ever coached. She was a beast out on the field and didn’t fear any player or opponent she competed against.” In 2018, she moved to the backline and helped the Hawkettes to a 19-3 record and a runner-up finish in Class 3A. She was named to the all-tournament team and repeated as a second-team all-state pick. As a senior, she capped off her career by leading Ankeny to the state title. She was part of a defensive unit that posted seven consecutive shutouts to close out the season. Kooker was a repeat pick to the all-tournament team and was named to the all-state first team. Her crowning achievement came from the Iowa High School Soccer Coaches Association, which selected her Miss Iowa Soccer for 2019. Kooker is now playing for Indiana State. “Her physical presence at the back led to many clean sheets,” Brown said. “When the team was in a funk, she would often try to take the game over herself by pushing up the field for a goal or assist. She was the team captain and grew in her leadership position. I’ll remember her drive and relentless will to win.”
Olivia Wee, defender: She was part of Centennial’s stingy defensive unit that posted back-to-back shutouts in the 2018 state tournament before allowing a pair of goals in the win over Ankeny in the championship game. She also contributed to the Jaguars’ offensive attack, racking up eight assists on the season–three of them during the state tournament. She assisted on Brown’s game-winning goal in the final and was named to the all-tournament team. As a senior, Wee helped Centennial to another state tournament appearance. The Jaguars reached the semifinals before losing to Waukee in a shootout, where Wee converted one of her team’s penalty kicks. She was again named to the all-tournament team and was selected to the all-state first team. She is now playing for Iowa State. “Wee showed her defensive range by playing the role of an attacking defender in our system and then switching to center back for her senior year,” Allen said. “She played with power and grit.”
Alyssa Williamson, defender: She was a cornerstone for Ankeny’s defensive unit from 2008-11, helping the Hawkettes to three state tournaments and their first championship. She was the team’s defensive MVP as a freshman. In 2009, she earned all-state honorable mention after Ankeny reached the Class 2A semifinals. As a junior, Williamson again helped the Hawkettes reach the Class 2A semifinals. The team posted shutouts in 16 of its 18 victories. She was named to the all-tournament team and received first-team all-state honors. As a senior, she led Ankeny to a 21-1 record and the inaugural Class 3A championship. She converted a penalty kick in the quarterfinal shootout against Cedar Rapids Washington and was later named captain of the all-tournament team. She was voted team MVP and was a repeat selection to the all-state first team. She went on to play for Iowa State. “Alyssa had a knack for reading both the game and individual players,” Allen said. “She was never blazing fast but could tell what opponents were planning by analyzing body language. She also knew how to move in relationship to her teammates, making it so that she was rarely out of position when the team needed a defensive stop.”
Nikkie Inskeep, goalkeeper: She was a three-year starter who helped Ankeny to a pair of state titles and a 63-2 record from 2011-13. As a sophomore, she was named to the all-tournament team after the Hawkettes claimed their first championship. She had 17 shutouts on the season and did not allow a goal in the state tournament, when Ankeny won two penalty-kick shootouts. The Hawkettes outscored their opponents, 95-5, on the season. In 2012, Inskeep helped Ankeny to a 20-1 mark. She made 69 saves while allowing just 14 goals and received second-team all-state honors. As a senior, she was again named to the all-tournament team after the Hawkettes won their second crown in three years to complete a perfect season. She made 54 saves and set a school record with 20 shutouts, capped off by the 1-0 victory over Dowling Catholic in the title game. Ankeny outscored its opponents by an 87-2 margin, and Inskeep was selected to the all-state first team. She went on to play for South Dakota State. “Inskeep was a force in goal who intimidated her opponents and understood the developing role of the keeper,” Allen said. “She was great with the ball at her feet and aware of game situations, allowing her to control the pace of the game.”
Megan Gray, forward: She joined Centennial’s squad as a senior in 2018 and helped the Jaguars to the state title, scoring a team-high 10 goals and also contributing six assists. She had two of her goals during the state tournament, one of them on a penalty kick in the final against Ankeny. She was named to the all-tournament team and earned second-team all-state honors. Gray is now playing for Minnesota. “We only had a glimpse of Meg’s abilities in the high school game as she only played her senior year, a year where she split time with track and faced a hand injury,” Allen said. “However, that glimpse came at the right time during the 2018 postseason run. She showed craftiness and speed as she sliced apart defenses from the outside in.”
Aubree Larson, forward: She was a standout on Ankeny’s state tournament teams in 2012-13, helping the Hawkettes to the state title in her junior season. As a sophomore, she scored nine goals and set a school record with 14 assists as Ankeny earned a runner-up finish in Class 3A. She scored both of her team’s goals in the semifinal win over Waukee. She was named to the all-tournament team and earned all-state honorable mention. In 2013, she racked up 13 goals and nine assists in the Hawkettes’ undefeated season. She was a first-team all-state pick. Larson played club soccer as a senior and went on to play for Iowa. “She often used her abilities to unbalance defenses as she could readily win 1-v-1 battles, causing additional players to come to the aid of the beaten defender,” Allen said. “She was quick and enjoyed breaking down opposing defenders.”
Alexis Legg, forward: She was a freshman defender on Ankeny’s championship team in 2015, then eventually moved to an attacking position and became one of the state’s most prolific scorers. As a senior, she set a school record with 37 goals–which ranked second in the state–and led the Hawkettes to a runner-up finish in Class 3A. She was named to the all-tournament team after scoring three goals at the state tournament–one in each game. She was a first-team all-state pick and was named Miss Iowa Soccer for 2018. Legg now plays for Augustana (S.D.). “She was probably one of the most deceptive players I have ever coached,” Bertsch said. “She knew her strengths and weaknesses and had a very high soccer IQ unlike any other player. She’s Ankeny’s current leading goal scorer for a reason, and I don’t foresee this (single-season) record being broken anytime in the near future. Most notably by her teammates was her candid team leadership skills. Her teammates loved her on and off the field.”
Sarah Brandt, midfielder: Meg’s older sister was a huge part of Ankeny’s teams that went a combined 42-1 in 2012-13. As a sophomore, she had 13 goals and 10 assists while helping the Hawkettes to a runner-up finish. In 2013, she scored seven goals and tied a school record with 14 assists as Ankeny captured the title. She scored the game’s only goal in the final against Dowling and was named to the all-tournament team. “Sarah was always so deceptive to me,” Allen said. “She could slow the game down and then quickly pounce. In that game against Dowling, she put in defensive work for much of the game, but when we had a sneaky chance at the top of the 18, she tucked it away for the game winner.” She was voted team MVP and was a repeat selection to the all-state first team. She followed her sister Mary, another Ankeny standout, to play for Northern Iowa and is now an assistant coach for the Hawkettes.
Caroline Buelt, midfielder: She played only one season for Ankeny in 2015, but she made the most of it–contributing six goals and three assists while helping the Hawkettes to a 16-5 record and the Class 2A title. She had two goals in a 5-1 victory over Spencer in the quarterfinals, when Ankeny overcame a season-ending injury to all-state forward Kelsey Laughman. She then converted a penalty kick in the Hawkettes’ 2-1 shootout victory over North Scott in the semifinals. She was named the captain of the all-tournament team. “I coached Caroline in U11 soccer and loved having her on the team the last season,” Woolf said. “She was a great competitor and a tremendous player and went on to have a successful college career at Nebraska.”
Jackie Hood, midfielder: Kelsey’s older sister racked up 31 goals and 13 assists from 1999-2002, helping Ankeny to its first four winning campaigns. She had eight goals and three assists in each of her first two seasons. As a junior, she was named to the all-conference first team after contributing five goals and four assists. She showed her versatility by moving to the defensive backfield midway through the season, and was later named team MVP. In 2002, she scored a career-best 10 goals and earned all-state honorable mention while sharing the MVP award with Hansell. She went on to become a three-year captain for Southwest Missouri State, where she started every game in her career and was the team MVP as well as a second-team all-conference pick in 2005. “I have been around for a long time, dating back to Jackie’s time,” Woolf said. “She was a great player!”
Jordan Enga, defender: She played on two of Ankeny’s championship teams. As a sophomore in 2013, she helped the Hawkettes to the only unbeaten season in school history. “I felt that Enga always brought a calm to the defense in the center back position,” Allen said. As a senior, Enga was named to the all-tournament team after Ankeny captured the Class 2A crown with a 2-1 victory over Pleasant Valley in overtime. She earned second-team all-state honors and went on to play for Iowa State. “She will go down as one the best defensive players in Ankeny High School soccer,” Woolf said. “Tactically she understood the game, her team’s goals and her opponents. She was a leader on the field through her actions as well as through her words and holding her teammates accountable. I started coaching Jordan in U11 club soccer and the same fierceness she had as a senior winning a state championship, she had as an 11 year old.”
Kasey Hurt, defender: She played a key role in Ankeny’s perfect season as a junior. The Hawkettes battled Waukee down to the wire in the semifinals before Hurt fired a pass to set up teammate Kelsey Yarrow for the game-winning goal in the final minutes. She was later named to the all-tournament team. After Ankeny split into two high schools, she helped the Hawkettes to another state tournament berth in 2014. Hurt was named to the all-state first team and went on to play for Drake. “Kasey was so versatile,” Allen said. “Coaching her, I saw how hard she worked to recover from an ACL injury and what an asset she became to our defense. The long diagonal ball she played perfectly to Yarrow to secure the win in the semifinal against Waukee in 2013 will be one I always remember. Coaching against her in 2014, I knew that Kasey would be a lockdown defender and that we would get very few chances against Ankeny with her in the backline.”
Riley Whitaker, defender: The Iowa Rush standout elected to play for Ankeny as well in 2018, and she helped the Hawkettes to a runner-up finish in her only season. She was named to the all-tournament team after Ankeny fell to Centennial in the final, and she was selected to the all-state first team. Whitaker is now playing for Iowa. “Although Riley only played one season in high school, she’s one of the best and most respected players to ever play for Ankeny,” Bertsch said. “You will never see a better left-footed player than Riley. From coaches, to players, opponents and parents, everyone knew they would be given a show watching Riley play.”
Allie Wyckoff, defender: She helped Centennial to a 36-6 record over the last two seasons. In 2018, she was part of a backline that also included Brown, Wee and Ubben as the Jaguars captured the title. As a senior, she helped Centennial to a 16-4 mark and another state tournament appearance. Wyckoff was named to the all-state first team. “Allie played with such pace,” Allen said. “Even if an attacking player slipped by her, she could recover quickly and snuff out the effort. In high school, she played her first two years out of position, yet she helped us to a state championship in 2018. Her senior year, we had the luxury of moving her to her natural right side of the field, and there she really shined for the defense.”
Brenny Frederick, goalkeeper: She helped Ankeny to a second-place finish in 2018, then emerged as a star the following year as the Hawkettes won the title, recording three straight shutouts at the state tournament. “She is the most underrated player out there,” Bertsch said. “She was never nominated for all-conference and all-district because of the politics in the game, but if you set aside this and see what she did in the last two state tournaments, no one would argue that she was the best player out there. She’s a pure shot blocker and the best keeper at saving the penalty kick during critical moments.” Frederick was named to the all-tournament team and earned second-team all-state honors as a junior. Her senior season was cancelled due to the coronavirus, but she is planning to play for Simpson College. “This year would have been Brenny’s fourth year as a varsity letterwinner,” Brown said. “In 2019 and years past she had to compete with Sidney Truman for minutes in the goal, with both of them rotating positions. She was not the starter leading into our third-to-last game of the season, but when she got her chance, she was lights out for our state championship run, saving multiple 1-on-1 chances from the best players in the state. I’ll always have a soft spot for Brenny, from one short kid to another, to not let others define one’s limitations, and to always be ready when called upon.”
Claire Dahm, forward: She scored 51 goals while helping Centennial to a 47-14 record from 2014-16. As a sophomore, she had 11 goals and four assists as the Jaguars went 12-8 and advanced to the state tournament. She was named to the all-state first team. Dahm had eight goals and five assists in 2015, then racked up 22 goals and nine assists as a senior while helping Centennial to the state title. She was named to the all-tournament team and again received first-team all-state honors. She went on to play for Augustana (S.D.). “Players in our program still reference the model that Dahm set for being a quality teammate, and that’s incredible as none of our current players took the field with her,” Allen said. “She set the tone for players like Kenzie Geiger and Jaecee Hall to emerge as incredible teammates the following years. Dahm could score crazy goals as well. One time she volleyed a ball in with her back to goal by simply extending her long leg and flicking the ball over her head. Who would think to take that shot? Dahm didn’t hesitate.”
Ashley Harrington, forward: She scored 17 goals and had four assists while helping Ankeny to a runner-up finish in 2018. She converted a penalty kick in the semifinal shootout against Valley that sent the Hawkettes into the title game against Centennial. “Ashley has a pure strike of the ball,” Bertsch said. “She was only a sophomore coming into a team with lots of talent, but she competed and what stood out most about her was her work rate. She never slowed down and she managed to do this during our state finals run while suffering a severe chronic muscle injury to her calves throughout the whole season.” As a junior, Harrington led the team with 19 goals and six assists as Ankeny captured its fourth title of the decade. She scored three goals in the state tournament, including both goals in the semifinal win over Dowling, and then assisted on Saige Adamson’s winning goal in the championship game against Waukee. She was named to the all-tournament team and earned first-team all-state honors. Harrington never got to take the field as a senior, but Brown said the Northern Iowa recruit is on the shortlist of players to be named Gatorade player of the year. “If they go off her stats alone from last year, she is probably the favorite,” he said. “Ashley had to work for everything she has earned. She is not blessed with blistering pace, but her physicality and selfish effort off the ball led to many goals and assists. One can only imagine the type of numbers she was going to put up in 2020. I’ll remember Ashley’s commitment to the team and effort in everything she did for for Ankeny High.”
Kelsey Yarrow, forward: She joined Enga on two of Ankeny’s championship teams. As a sophomore, she had eight goals and eight assists, including the game-winning goal in the semifinal win over Waukee. “Kelsey scored some memorable goals, and that was one of them,” Allen said. “Later, when I was scouting her in 2015, she knocked a one-touch shot in against Southeast Polk from just in front of midfield. I have never witnessed anything else like that goal in the high school game. I saw it in the World Cup when Carli Lloyd did it to Japan that same summer, but that was on more than one touch.” Yarrow helped the Hawkettes to another crown as a senior, when she had 10 goals and nine assists. She scored the tying goal against North Scott in the semifinals, then later made a penalty kick in the shootout. She was named to the all-tournament team and earned first-team all-state honors. She went on to play for Northern Iowa. “She’s one of the best ‘gamers’ and one of the kindest kids I have had the privilege to coach,” Woolf said. “She had the ability to carry a team on her back, she was consistent and her teammates looked up to her. She had the ability to be completely focused in on the task at hand, while being able to relate to each and every teammate.”
Sara McDermott, midfielder: She was a four-time all-conference pick from 1997-2000, helping to build Ankeny’s winning program. As a freshman, she had eight goals and two assists and was one of only two ninth-graders on the all-conference second team. In 1998, she scored eight of the Hawkettes’ 18 goals and was named team MVP. In 1999, she had five goals and three assists as Ankeny posted its first winning season under Fors. Despite suffering a knee injury late in the season, she repeated as team MVP and was named to the all-state second team for the second straight year–this time as a defender. “In high school they had her play a lot of midfield, but her natural position was defense and she was good!” Woolf said. She was one of only two unanimous picks on the all-conference first team. As a senior, McDermott again battled some injuries, but still had three goals and three assists. She helped the Hawkettes to an 11-4 mark and earned first-team all-conference honors for the third year in a row. “Sara’s been a pioneer for soccer in Ankeny,” Fors said at the time. “She’s contributed a lot to our success.”
Amber Nieland, midfielder: She scored 32 goals in her career and helped Ankeny to its first state title in 2011, when she contributed 10 goals and five assists. As a senior, she racked up 20 goals and 10 assists as the Hawkettes earned a runner-up finish. She scored a goal in the quarterfinal win over Linn-Mar (Marion), then assisted on Larson’s game-winning goal in the semifinal victory over Waukee. She was named to the all-tournament team and earned second-team all-state honors. The Hawkettes went 59-3 in her three seasons on the varsity. She went on to play for Northern Iowa. “Nieland was such a workhorse,” Allen said. “She had technical ability, a powerful left foot, and could work up and down the sideline to meet the demands of our system of play.”
Olivia Sharar, midfielder: She racked up 23 goals and 20 assists in her Ankeny career, helping the Hawkettes to the state title in 2019. As a sophomore, she scored nine goals and had seven assists for a team that advanced to the state tournament. She then had four goals and five assists in 2018 as Ankeny earned a runner-up finish. “Olivia’s explosive speed created many threats in the final third,” Bertsch said. “She always came up big when it mattered most, more particularly against Waukee. Her dual threat with her speed and cannon of a left-footed shot were hard to stop.” As a senior, Sharar had six goals and seven assists to help the Hawkettes to the championship. She was named to the all-tournament team and earned second-team all-state honors. She is now playing for Indiana State. “Her moments of brilliance in games would terrify opposition fullbacks with her darting speed and wand of a left foot. Olivia was as consistent as it gets in defense, and a confident player in attack. She had an assist (in the semifinal win) against Dowling, then was arguably the man of the match in the state final vs. Waukee. I’ll remember Olivia’s infectious energy and the joy she brought to the team.”
Sydney Copley, defender: She helped Ankeny to a 30-5 record in Allen’s first two seasons and played a key role in the Hawkettes’ first state tournament berth in 2009, when she was voted team MVP and earned all-state honorable mention for the second straight year. She went on to play for Iowa State. “Sydney was the senior captain on the first Ankeny squad to reach state, and she put in work to help get the team to that point,” Allen said. “Despite having a ton of composure and ball mastery, she didn’t play in a flashy way. She was steady and smart and moved the ball quickly, almost always playing a supporting role in the attack and an organizing role on defense.”
Bailey Martin, defender: She was a two-time all-state honorable mention pick who teamed up with goalkeeper Gillen Witherspoon to lead Ankeny’s defensive effort in 2006-07. As a junior, Martin helped the Hawkettes to a 10-7 record. In 2007, Ankeny went 14-4 and lost in a regional final in coach Housken’s (formerly Fors) final season. She was a repeat selection to the Central Conference first team and went on to play for Grand View.
Dana Schrader, defender: She was a fixture for the Hawkettes on the back line from 2003-05, helping the team to a 35-14 mark during that stretch. As a junior, she earned all-state honorable mention after Ankeny posted a 10-7 record. In 2005, she was the leader of a defensive unit that allowed just 0.69 goals per game and recorded 10 shutouts. The Hawkettes went 15-1 and outscored their opponents by an 84-11 margin. Schrader again received all-state honorable mention and was a repeat pick to the all-conference first team. She earned the Coaches Award for the third straight season.
Tori Ubben, defender: She was a two-time first-team all-state selection who helped Centennial to a title as a sophomore and then played a starring role on the 2018 championship squad. She is now playing for Drake. “Ubben, in my opinion, might be one of the most underrated defenders I have coached, and by her junior and senior years, she was rated pretty highly,” Allen said. “She never had blistering pace, but like Alyssa Williamson, she could read the game so well. She was calm under pressure and has been one of the best defenders at supporting a possession-style of play. She could have been on the field more her freshman and sophomore years, but we were in the middle of changing our defense her first season, and our starting defense her sophomore year was a force. Nonetheless, she proved invaluable during the 2016 championship run off the bench and in the 2018 run as a starter.”
Nicole Powell, goalkeeper: She was a standout for Ankeny in 2002-03. As a junior, she allowed just eight goals all season for a team that went 13-3 and lost in a regional final. In 2003, she helped the Hawkettes to a 10-6 record, posting shutouts in eight of the 10 wins. She was named team MVP and earned second-team all-state honors.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: The Ankeny Fanatic teams were selected by publisher Dan Holm, who consulted with former and current coaches before making his picks.)