LA PORTE CITY — It’s becoming second nature at this point for the fourth-ranked (2A) ranked Union of La Porte City Knights girls’ soccer team.
After not playing for a week after the end of their regular-season schedule, the Knights were able to turn things on with ease as they hosted the Decorah Tuesday in a Class 2A sub-state 6 semifinal, cruising to a 10-0 victory.
Union (15-2) rode a huge night from the state’s leading scorer, Courtney Powell, who scored eight times to give her 66 goals this season.
Powell opened the scoring just seven minutes in, and the Knights made it 2-0 on a Katie Kopriva goal in the 20th minute. Then, the Knights and Powell really started to click offensively with the senior completing a hat trick from two calmly finished one-on-ones.
“Our finishing was on point tonight and that allowed us to really get the early advantage,” said Union head coach Hunter Zempel.
Emma Rottinghaus set up Powell twice to make it 6-0, then scored one of her own in the 38th minute on a penalty kick, before Powell was able to snag one more just as the half ended from a header to put the Knights up 9-0 at halftime.
“Emma’s leading the state in assist and to me that’s almost as good a feeling as leading the state in goals,” said Powell of Rottinghaus.
After the break the Knights were patient to finish off the Viking’s but followed the game’s theme in doing so. Powell burned the Decorah (7-8) defense one last time in the 58th minute and slotted her eighth goal to enforce the 10-goal rule and move Union onto the substate final Monday at home against Marion.
With a state tournament berth a game away, Powell is eager to get back to the state tournament and complete her high school athletic profile.
“Last year I took a year off of soccer and I was able to run with my best friends in track and get a state championship and I have a state cup title in club soccer but I’m ready to win a state championship in high-school soccer,” said the Knight striker.
Powell has signed to play for Iowa State next fall, but wants to end her high school career with one more trophy before she heads off to Ames.
“It was disappointing not to have her last year, but she came back this year and we’ve gelled together well this year,” Zempel said. “All the girls are just really focused on the next game ahead and want the trophy that comes at the end of it.”