A couple of newcomers helped the Ankeny girls’ soccer team to a season-opening victory on Tuesday.
Freshman Sydney Van Houweling scored the game-winning goal in overtime to give the Hawkettes a 1-0 triumph at North Polk in a non-conference contest. She found the net with a blast from about 20 yards out in the final minute of the first extra period.
“What an incredible feeling for young Sydney to score the game-winner,” said Ankeny coach Simon Brown. “She has a promising future ahead of her.”
While Van Houweling’s unassisted goal ended the scoreless tie, Ankeny also got a huge effort from sophomore goalkeeper Claire Close. The transfer from Marshalltown filled in for injured senior Jasmine Moser and kept the Comets off the scoreboard.
“With Jasmine out we were able to use Claire and start the season with a clean sheet, and we look to bring the same momentum into the game Friday vs. Council Bluffs Lincoln,” Brown said. “Jasmine hurt her knee in practice, and we rested her for Friday as a precaution. Claire was awesome, though. We are very fortunate (to have her).”
Both teams struggled to generate scoring opportunities in the first half. The Hawkettes put more pressure on North Polk in the second half, but weren’t able to find the net until Van Houweling’s heroics in overtime.
“I think the girls were a bit anxious, and we faced one of the best 2A teams in the state in North Polk,” Brown said. “They had a great game plan that slowed our rhythm–all credit to them. We missed a couple open chances and hit the bar a couple times from our set pieces that on another day would have changed the game.”
After hosting Council Bluffs Lincoln on Friday, Ankeny will host Ames on Saturday. Both games are part of the Crosstown Invitational.
The Hawkettes split a pair of games against Lincoln last season. They posted a 1-0 win in the Crosstown Invitational, but the Lynx later defeated Ankeny by the same score in overtime in the Class 3A semifinals.