Norwalk boys soccer team qualifies for State; Warrior softball squad holds off Southeast Polk | KNIA KRLS Radio

For the first time in six years, Norwalk is heading back to the Boys State Soccer Tournament. The sixth-ranked Warriors avenged their nemesis on Wednesday night, edging eighth-ranked and top-seeded Urbandale 2-1 in the Class 3A, Substate 6 final played on the J-Hawks’ home turf. The Norwalk softball team was also victorious, holding off a late Southeast Polk rally to win 5-4 in a game heard live on (KNIA3).

On To State

The Warriors never trailed on the soccer pitch as senior Jack Brown scored twice in the first 17 minutes to give Norwalk leads of 1-0 and 2-1. Brown has 23 goals on the season. Neither team was able to score in the final 63 minutes, allowing the Warriors to clinch their first trip to the state tournament since winning the 2A championship in 2017.

They also gained a measure of revenge against Urbandale, which ended Norwalk’s season in the playoffs the previous two years with wins of 2-1 in 2021 and 1-0 in 2022. The J-Hawks also won this year’s regular season matchup, 2-1.

Norwalk coach Dustin Kralik tells KNIA-KRLS Sports that he is thrilled for the opportunity awaiting his players. “It was a really gritty effort against a really tough opponent to get us to state,” Kralik said.

The Warriors, now 11-7 overall, attempted 14 shots on goal compared to five for Urbandale, which finished 6-11. Brown led the team with five shots on goal, Tavin Ferner took four shots and goalie Jacob Rueber had four saves.

Unofficially, Norwalk will be seeded fifth in the Class 3A state tourney brackets and face fourth-seeded Humboldt in a quarterfinal match set for 4:10 p.m. Tuesday, May 30, on Field 8 of the James W. Cownie Soccer Complex in Des Moines.

Softball 2-0

One night after opening the season with a 4-0 win over Class 1A top-ranked Southeast Warren, the Norwalk softball team won 5-4 over the Class 5A third-ranked Southeast Polk Rams. Sophomore Nyah Hulbert was the offensive star of the night for the 4A fifth-ranked Warriors. Hulbert’s leadoff double ignited a two-run first inning and she later cranked out solo home runs in the third and the fifth. Grace Dehmer and Addi Downe both added two hits and combined for three RBI.

Downe’s safety squeeze bunt turned out to be the game-winning RBI as Southeast Polk battled back and nearly erased a 5-0 deficit after five. Sydney Potter’s three-run homer pulled the Rams within a run in the top of the seventh. Norwalk senior Zadie Wadle, who pitched five scoreless innings as the starter, returned to the circle in the seventh to record the final two outs and essentially save her own win.

Norwalk coach Beau Livingston called it a great win and told KNIA-KRLS Sports that he was glad to see his players respond to a pressure situation late in the game. “I thought we were in control for much of the night, (but) they have really good players that swing the bat really good,” Livingston said. “We knew it was going to be a seven-inning game and we were a little bit better than them tonight.”

The Warriors’ next game will be a home contest against ADM on Tuesday, May 30.