Today marks a top 15 match up in the world of Iowa High School girls soccer as Class 2A’s fourth ranked A-D-M/Van Meter Tigers hit the road to battle Class 2A’s fifth ranked Norwalk Warriors.
It’s a big time match up that puts two returning state tournament teams together for an early season battle. A-D-M/Van Meter enters the fray already 1-0 on the young season after posting up an offensive showcase for 11 goals against conference foe Carroll in their season opener. Norwalk heads into the match up also on an offensive high with 13 goals scored through two games giving them a solid 2-0 start the season.
The Tiger girls have the recent edge over the Warrior girls to the tune of six straight wins against Norwalk dating back to the 2012 campaign. Despite the numbers however, as A-D-M/Van Meter head coach Kelsey Gaffney mentioned, today’s match up will be quite the challenge.
“Norwalk is always an organized team,” stated Gaffney. “This time we are playing on their home field and they have a very sound team especially defensively.”
What will surely turn out to be an offensive showcase will also have a defensive flare to it as well as both teams landed inside the top three in their respective conferences last year in fewest goals allowed. Norwalk allowed a mere 22 goals last season which landed the Warriors inside the top 20 for the fewest goals allowed in Class 2A.
The potent A-D-M/Van Meter offense will certainly be put to an early test but there is one thing that Gaffney views as the biggest piece to disrupting the Norwalk defense.
“As an offense we really need to stretch out their defense and get them constantly moving,” mentioned Gaffney.
Of course, A-D-M/Van Meter is more than just great offense but has wielded a top notch defense as well over the past few years. That defense has been inside the top five for fewest goals allowed within all of class 2A four out of the past five seasons.
This season brings a slightly different challenge to the Tiger defense as the fickle graduation bug has left some holes to fill.
“We’re still trying to figure things out defensively with the loss of seniors like Chelsea Bright who spearheaded the defense last season,” said Gaffney. “She was really good about organizing the defense as our center back for the past three years and now we’re figuring out who will take on that role this year.”
As the Tigers continue to fill out the roles they will be retaining the likes of defensive stars like Sydney Canney and returning All-State goal keeper Delaney Bertman.
Norwalk will be the first of over four ranked opponents on the schedule for A-D-M/Van Meter and will kick off today beginning at 7 pm from Norwalk High School.