A stout defense gives the Ankeny Centennial girls’ soccer team a little margin for error at the other end of the field.
That fact was proven on Saturday as the top-ranked Jaguars posted a pair of victories at the Council Bluffs Lincoln Invitational, despite missing 51 of their 55 shots on the day.
Centennial opened the tournament with a 3-0 triumph over Sioux City East, then followed with a 1-0 win over No. 7 Council Bluffs Lincoln. The Jaguars have now recorded 11 consecutive shutouts, a streak that began on April 16.
“I was concerned about going over there after having a game (Friday against Mason City),” said Centennial coach Chris Allen, whose team is now 13-1 on the season. “I really do believe in trying to get the kids rest between games, probably much more so than when I first started coaching. But it ended up working out for us. We came back healthy, and that was one of our goals along with playing well and coming back with a couple of wins.”
Council Bluffs Lincoln (12-3) entered the day with a 10-game winning streak, but was held scoreless in a pair of losses. The Lynx dropped a 1-0 decision to No. 2 Valley before falling to Centennial.
The Jaguars dominated the run of play as goalkeeper Aly Jumper made just one save in the 60-minute contest.
“Their shot came on a call (in the first half) that was a dangerous play, and it was kind of a questionable call in the first place,” Allen said. “It should have been an indirect kick, but they were given a direct kick and Aly made a great save for us.”
Centennial later scored the game’s only goal off a corner kick in the second half, when the Jaguars were going into the wind. Elizabeth Overberg found the left side of the net for her team-leading 16th goal of the season off an assist by Cady Compton.
“I am super proud of how we are playing right now and am excited to keep growing with our next couple of games,” Overberg said. “Especially with having three games within 24 hours this weekend, it really showed the grit and depth our team has. We keep fighting no matter the conditions or how many posts we hit.”
Centennial has now won 12 straight games. Since giving up a late goal in a 2-1 win at Valley on April 13, the Jaguars have outscored their opponents by a 64-0 margin during their shutout streak.
“That was a good showing against a Lincoln team that will typically make a state run,” Allen said. “It was just unfortunate that we didn’t convert more of our chances.”
In the win over Sioux City East, Centennial misfired on 31 of its 34 shots in the 50-minute game. Still, the Jaguars handed East (5-8) its sixth consecutive loss.
“We had some shooting woes in that game,” Allen said. “We had a lot of chances. Some of our fans who were over at the other field for the JV game told me that they could hear the crossbars getting destroyed. That was kind of how it was for us.”
Overberg took 10 of Centennial’s shots. She scored two goals in the win, but came close to notching several more.
“It was frustrating hitting the post like eight times in a row, but I knew that my team would keep working the ball up to us in the attack,” Overberg said. “We just encouraged each other to keep shooting because some of them had to go in at some point like they did.”
Centennial took a 1-0 lead on a goal by Alanna Pennington in the first half. It was her sixth goal of the season.
Overberg scored a goal later in the half, then added another one in the second half. Meghan White and Izzy Sash each had an assist for the Jaguars.
“Both of Overberg’s goals actually hit the post or the crossbar and deflected in,” Allen said. “But most of them deflected away unfortunately.”
Allen said he isn’t worried about his team’s struggles to find the net, especially with his defense shutting down opposing offenses.
“Our girls are just missing by inches,” he said. “They’re giving themselves great chances. We’ve just got to keep firing.”
The Jaguars will play a non-conference game at No. 5 Dowling Catholic (11-3) on Tuesday.