Upsets & shoot-outs spice up girls state soccer tourney

Girls soccer at the 5A level is offering a large helping of  fan frenzy as the semi-finals of the high school state tournament play out tonight and tomorrow night.

There are several games providing the most intriguing storylines.

We begin with the match-up between Corona del Sol HS and Desert Vista HS in 5A-I.   Corona, the No. 15 seed, had to pull a major upset in the opening game by defeating No. 2 Gilbert, 2-1, and then won a 1-0 thriller against No. 10 Mesquite HS when Mackenzie Bader’s header off a corner kick was deflected back to her so she could put in the net in the 44th minute of the contest.

Meanwhile, Desert Vista, the 6th seed, had to get past No. 3 Hamilton HS to get a shot at Corona.  The two teams fought for two scoreless halves and then went into two scoreless overtimes, eventually winning 6-5 in a shootout.  And Hamilton was on a roll, trampling Chandler HS, 5-0.

That sets up an interesting pairing of a No. 6 seed, Desert Vista, going against a real longshot in No. 15 Corona del Sol.  It’s hard to pick a sentimental favorite here because each team has overcome so much to get a shot at the championship game.

In 5A-II, both semi-final games have teams involved that have overcome long odds to get there.  No. 9 seed Desert Mountain had to go to a shootout after two overtimes before downing No. 8 Cibola HS in the first round, and then really climbed a mountain when it took down No. 1 Millenium in a 2-0 shutout on goals by Brittany Groh and Jordyn Greenberg.

Desert Mountain will take on No. 5 Mountain View (Marana) that won its quarter-final game against No. 13 Chaparral in an overtime decision, 3-2.  But Mountain View has only faced a 12th seed and a 13th seed, so it will have to step up its game to get past the already-tested Lions.

In the other semi-final, it’s No. 11 Pinnacle HS taking on No. 2 Horizon, which has won its first two games by a combined 7-1 scoring, beating No. 15 Ironwood HS and No. 10 Rincon.  Pinnacle, on the other hand, has had to fight past two higher seeds, No. 6 Marcos de Niza HS and No. 3 Westview HS.

So there are plenty of opportunities in 5A girls soccer for great ‘Cinderella’ storylines going into the weekend’s title match-ups.

Look for one or more drama-filled overtime games out of these three.  And at least one Cinderella.

Pull up the pumpkin carriage for Corona del Sol.