COUNCIL BLUFFS — If this weekend’s matches are any indication, the Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln girls soccer program might be ready to make the jump into Iowa’s elite.

One year after getting blasted by Ankeny Centennial 7-0 in their first state appearance in 16 years, the Class 3-A No. 7 Lynx battled the second-rated, defending state champion Jaguars into overtime on Friday, losing 1-0.

On Saturday, A.L. took on No. 1 Waukee and held its own, losing 2-1 to complete its participation in the Thomas Jefferson Girls Soccer Classic at Wickersham Stadium.

“It was an awesome test for us,’’ A.L. coach Robbie Miller said. “After going to state last year and losing to Ankeny Centennial (7-0), coming in here and playing this weekend against the top two teams and only losing by one goal each game – taking Ankeny to overtime – just what growth we’ve had, how much confidence we have in each other. I think this going to be a real boost for us.’’

The Lynx dropped to 2-2, while Waukee improved to 2-0 after beating Nebraska Class B No. 5 Columbus Scotus 1-0 earlier on Saturday.

To be clear, a highly skilled and speedy Waukee squad dominated possession on Saturday against the Lynx. The Warriors, who lost to Centennial in the 3-A semifinals last year, had 18 total shots, including 12 on goal, while A.L. managed five total shots and four on goal.

But the Lynx were highly competitive throughout the match. Freshman Brooklyn Woods opened the scoring for Waukee by lofting a long-range shot just over the outstretched hands of Rilee Filip in the fourth minute. Waukee took a 2-0 lead in the 30th minute when senior Jori Nieman punched in a rebound.

Other than that, the Lynx battled hard enough to keep themselves in contention. Filip made some outstanding saves, and the A.L. back line of junior Alexis Pomernackas, senior Taryn Newman, freshman Paige Bracker and junior Brooke Wohlers pitched a shutout in the second half.

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“We were tired from last night’s game, but we just tried to push through and pack in the defense and not let them score any close ones,’’ said Newman, a four-year starter.

Miller liked the way his defense competed against the array of talent Waukee possesses.

“I think we’ve got the best defense in the state,’’ he said. “Teams have a real tough time getting through us. Waukee is the best offensive team in the state, and we shut them down. They didn’t get good shots.’’

A.L. climbed back into contention in the second minute of the second half when young Bracker outraced her defender and sent a nifty through ball to senior Darby Thomas, who created some space with her speed and then ripped a goal past Rosemary Elliott from medium range to cut it to one.

Filip made an impressive, instinctive save in the 39th minute, and Thomas’ best chance for an equalizer came moments later, but the Nebraska track recruit was denied on the left wing by Elliott.

Newman said the program has made huge strides in her four years. As a starting freshman, A.L. went 10-8 and lost 8-1 to Sioux City East in a regional match.

“From my freshman year to senior year, it’s just changed so much,’’ she said. “Our program and the athletes in general on the team. It’s almost crazy to see.’’

Miller said the weekend is proof that this squad is ready to take the next step.

“That’s what I told them after the game,’’ he said. “We are a team that belongs with these teams on the field. Coming in, we were nervous. Like, what do we expect? And we came out and were like, we can play with these guys. We’re definitely one of the top teams in the state.’’

Newman, a Hastings College recruit, echoed her coach’s thoughts.

“I think we’re capable of making it to state again, but then actually giving a performance at state,’’ she said.

Waukee (2-0)...........................2 0—2

CB Abraham Lincoln (2-2)........0 1—1

Goals: W, Brooklyn Woods, Jori Nieman; AL, Darby Thomas. Assist: AL, Paige Bracker.