Union’s Courtney Powell is among three finalists for the Des Moines Register’s All-Iowa Girls Soccer Athlete of the Year Award.
After devoting the Spring 2016 season of her junior year to compete in track while playing club soccer on the side, Powell returned to the Union pitch in 2017 and picked up where she left off- leading all classes in the state for goals scored.
There is no disputing the importance of Powell’s contributions to the team. As a freshman in 2014, Powell scored 45 of the team’s 85 goals, leading the Knights to a 14-5 record. The following season, Powell played a part in 75 of the teams 102 goals, (66 goals and 9 assists), as the Knights advanced to the State Tournament. Without Powell putting up video game-like numbers last season, the team struggled on offense in 2016, scoring just 22 goals for the entire season and finishing with a 7-12 overall record.
Fast forward to 2017 and Union Head Coach Hunter Zempel is very happy to have Powell back.
“She’s just a lights-out player — I think one of the top ones in the state, clearly,” Zempel said.
“But honestly, her big transition this year has been really stepping into a leadership role. She’s just leading the way for a very young group.”
Leading the way, indeed. Once again, Powell is leading the state in scoring with 66 goals thus far in the 2017 campaign. Factoring in her seven assists, she has accounted for three-fourths of the team’s 97 goals, leading the team to a 15-2 record and one win away from another trip to the State Tournament. As this edition of The Progress Review went to press, results from Monday’s match against Marion, the team that eliminated Union from postseason play a year ago, were not available. Not only would a Union victory send the Knights back to the State Tournament, it would cement Powell’s legacy as one of the top soccer players in school history.
The All-Iowa Girls Soccer Athlete of the Year will be announced on June 24 at the Des Moines Register Sports Awards, which will feature guest speaker Shaquille O’Neal and Chuck Long as Master of Ceremonies. Other finalists for the award include Solon senior, Josie Durr, and Iowa City West High senior, Regan Steigleder.