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More unknowns than in a typical year

CCA 2021 girls’ soccer preview
Ellen Austin moves toward Marion’s goal in a wind-driven deluge May 21, 2019, at home. Austin, then a sophomore, narrowed a 2-0 deficit six minutes into the second half as the Clippers went on to a 4-2 win over the No. 8 (in Class 2A) Indians.

TIFFIN– Twenty-one months. That’s how long it will have been since the Clear Creek Amana (CCA) High School varsity soccer girls played their last game when they take the field on Tuesday, April 6.
The 2020 season was wiped out before it even started due to the cancellation of the remainder of the school year, and all spring sports, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Head Coach Matt Harding in his ninth year (and eighth season, as there was no season last year) remembers all too well how it felt when Gov. Kim Reynolds’ proclamation was made.
“We tried to remain optimistic for as long as possible, and the girls kept motivating each other by posting pictures of their individual workouts that they were completing at home,” he said. It was pretty chaotic, as the guidelines as to what we could and could not be doing seemed to change by the week. Eventually, once it became clear that the state athletic union was shifting its focus to softball, and they weren’t even going to find a way to have any form of soccer season, we were all pretty heartbroken.”
In a typical year, sports reporters ask coaches about their returning starters, other returning players, newcomers to the team and how the competition reflected in their schedules shapes up compared to the prior year.
This year however, coaches have a lot of unknowns and uncertain variables to consider. “Every program could spring a surprise based on some of the underclassmen that other teams aren’t aware of,” Harding said. One thing that is known, is CCA lost Tyra Martinsson, Karoline Storlien, Carsyn Gallagher, Hannah Shade, Ellie Waterbury, Allie Rummelhart and Raina Henze to graduation. Another “known” is the Clippers will have seniors Lauren Riggle, Ellen Austin, Peyton Grafft, Eliza Evans and Avery Woodward bringing experience to the field this season.
Riggle, a forward, recently committed to Loras College to play soccer and was an IAHSSCA Class 2A First Team All State, and IAGACA All-State 2A Second Team pick in 2019. Riggle scored team-high-19 goals in 2019 with 14 assists. Austin, a midfielder, made 10 goals and led the Creek Girls with 17 assists in 2019 on her way to an IAHSSCA Class 2A First Team spot while Graft, a center back, earned all-WaMaC Honorable Mention. Evans, a forward, has committed to Buena Vista University. In 2019 she knocked in three goals and made four assists. Woodward, a midfielder, put in three goals and also had three assists in 2019. Also back is junior Maddie Shade, a midfielder and defender, who put in two goals as a freshman.
Newcomers include junior Sydney Bowers at keeper, sophomore Leah Evans as a forward and midfielder, and freshmen Eva Plathe and Halle Bormann at center back and midfielder, respectively.
Despite many unknowns this season, Coach Harding knows for sure “Center Point-Urbana is the team to beat until somebody beats them.” The Stormin’ Pointers were the undisputed WaMaC West Champion in 2019 at 13-0 (conference) and 17-3 overall. The Creek Girls were second in the West at 9-4 and 13-5. “Independence and Williamsburg both had our number (in 2019), so given all of the unknowns, we’ll need to come prepared to play every night in conference.”
Junior Varisty Coach Kasey Bortz will assist Harding again this season.
Schedules and spectator guidelines are still very much subject to change, and quite possibly on short notice. As for any other thoughts on the upcoming season, Harding said, “Girls’ soccer postseason can tend to be pretty predictable every season, so perhaps this is a year where some of that gets tossed out.”
As for April 6, with a trip to Beckman Catholic in Dyersville, the coach said, “I know it sounds cliché, but April 6 is going to be a big night for us. I know it will be a very emotional night for all of us.” CCA’s first game on its home turf is scheduled for Monday, April 12, as Marion visits with a 5:30 p.m. start for the varsity.

2021 Clear Creek Amana Varsity Girls Soccer Schedule
Tuesday, April 6 AT Beckman Catholic, Dyersville 5:15 p.m.
Monday, April 12 HOME vs. Marion 5:30 p.m.
Tuesday, April 13 HOME vs. Benton Community 5:30 p.m.
Friday, April 16 HOME vs. Vinton-Shellsburg 5:30 p.m.
Tuesday, April 20 AT Center Point-Urbana 4:30 p.m.
Friday, April 23 AT Maquoketa 5 p.m.
Monday, April 26 HOME vs. Iowa City Regina Catholic 5:30 p.m.
Tuesday, April 27 HOME vs. Independence 5:30 p.m.
Friday, April 30 HOME vs. West Delaware 5:30 p.m.
Tuesday, May 4 AT Williamsburg 5 p.m.
Thursday, May 6 AT Mount Vernon 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday, May 11 HOME vs. South Tama 5:30 p.m.
Thursday, May 13 AT North Scott 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 15 AT Waverly-Shell Rock Tournament 9 a.m.
Tuesday, May 18 AT Solon 5:30 p.m.