Tucson soccer teams win Brandon Bean pre-season event

The high school soccer teams in southern Arizona got together last week for the annual Brandon Bean Classic tournament to kick off the 2010 soccer season.

This year’s field left out many of the best teams in the state, those that reside north of the Casa Grande city limits.  But the 20 teams entered included a number of boys and girls squads that have been ranked in the Top 5 in the Arizona Republic’s pre-season standings.

To no one’s surprise, Salpointe Catholic in Tucson took home the boys’ title, just as they did last year.   The Lancers defeated Nogales HS, 3-0, in a game that took 37 minutes before a shot made it into either net.  Last year, Salpointe downed Douglas, 2-1, in the finals.

On the girls’ side, the championship game was a match-up of Tucson schools, with Ironwood Ridge HS taking down Sabino HS in a 2-1 finale that saw The Ridge come from behind for the win.

Among the pre-season ranked teams, the boys’ side included three in Class 4A-I: Canyon del Oro HS (No. 1), Nogales (No. 2), and Sabino (No. 4).  Douglas HS, is ranked No. 3 in 4A-II and Salpointe is ranked No. 5 in 5A-I.

The girls’ field included Mountain View HS, No. 3 in 5A-I; Catalina Foothills, No. 1 in 4A-I; and Sahuaro HS, No. 4 in 4A-I.

Teams’ performances in the Brandon Bean tournament don’t count when compiling power points, but it provides some good, early-season competition for teams in the south, thus minimizing travel costs as well.

The event was named after a goalie that played for Salpointe and died in 1992 from a brain hemorrhage suffered during a scrimmage.  Salpointe High School hosts the tournament each year.

Francisco Lantz scored two goals for Salpointe, which beat Buena HS, 3-1, in the semi-finals.  But they were just insurance, since Christian Garcia poked through the first score in the 37th minute to give the Lancers what turned out to be the winning goal – a goal that might not have happened in the regular 35-minute half, but the period was extended to 40 minutes for the championship game.

The Lancers’ goalie, Ben Eyde, was the recipient of the tournament’s Brandon Bean award, given to the outstanding keeper of the event.  Raul Estebans Rodriguez from Nogales earned the Laura Kea trophy for outstanding field play.

Kea was also a Salpointe soccer player, killed in an automobile accident in 1995 on the way to a tournament.

In the girls’ championship, Mary Bowen put Sabino on the board first at the 29-minute mark, but Kaitlyn Lopez answered for Ridge 15 minutes later, scoring on an assist from Liz Fritz.

It was Camie Barbera, who has already compiled six goals for Ridge, that booted the winning goal in the 59th minute for the title.

Canyon del Oro goalie, Megan Baker, won the Brandon Bean trophy and Barbera was given the Laura Kea award.