Catalina Foothills High School did what no other school was able to accomplish at this year’s soccer state championships.
The Tucson school swept both the boys’ and girls’ titles.
This was an interesting year in ‘big schools’ soccer, as three of the four divisions held the possibility of a boys/girls sweep. In addition to Catalina Foothills in Class 4A-I, Notre Dame Prep (Scottsdale) had both of its teams in the 4A-II title games and the Hamilton High School (Gilbert) teams were in a similar situation in 5A-I.
You could even make the argument that there were actually four possible sweeps, since Brophy Prep and Xavier Prep are sister schools, both Catholic high schools with adjoining campuses in central Phoenix. Brophy won in 5A-I and Xavier lost.
But the bottom line: only Catalina went home with all the hardware.
While both of Catalina’s teams succeeded in their shots at the 4A-I title, their final games bore no resemblance to each other.
The boys’ game against Glendale High School was more like a pinball machine, particularly in the early going, as Danny McDemott scored first for the Falcons within the first couple of minutes. Glendale answered with a Francisco Lopez goal off a rebound and Jack Ferguson put Catalina back up with another score – all of which took about four minutes.
The eventual outcome was a 5-2 win and a second championship in four years for the boys.
In the girls’ game, junior midfielder Jenna Glad scored the only goal of the game to lead Catalina to a 1-0 victory over Sabino High School in the all-Tucson finale. The title capped an impressive 22-3 season for the girls.
In 4A-II, the Notre Dame Prep boys’ team broke a 1-1 tie with 14 minutes left to play and went on to a 4-1 win over Verrado High School in Buckeye, while the No. 1 girls lost to No. 2 Flagstaff High, 1-0.
The game’s lone score came from forward Kayla Bayer, who converted a penalty kick late in the game to give the Eagles their third title in six years. On the boys’ side, their entire scoring was almost in the hands of one player as well, as senior Ethan Taplin scored three of the team’s four goals to bring his season total to 36 and give first-year coach Kenny Hack a great start in his new job.
In 5A-I, both games were decided by 1-0 scores. But only the Hamilton High girls’ team came out on the winning end of its title match.
Samantha Weiss scored off a pass from Rylie Johnson in the 25th minute to give the No. 2 Hamilton girls their first soccer state title by beating No. 1 Xavier Prep. In fact, it was the Huskie’s first time in a state championship game, capping an undefeated season (25-0-1).
But the boys, who had just three losses on the year, couldn’t break through the Brophy Prep defense to get a score after Brophy’s Kyle Seeger scored off an assist from Esteban Obregon just minutes into the second half.
While 5A-II competition didn’t offer any chances for a school sweep, it did offer the most compelling story line, as Goldwater High School in Phoenix, the No. 16 seed, tried to pull of the season’s biggest upset in the boys’ title game.
But Glendale’s Ironwood High School wouldn’t let that happen, as they pocketed the 2-0 victory for its sixth state soccer title to match the record set by another Glendale school, Cactus High. Shye Ozalvo and Michael Gallardo accounted for Ironwood’s goals.
On the girls’ side, Pinnacle High School in Phoenix accomplished what was expected of an undefeated team. The Pioneers went up 2-0 on Tucson’s Ironwood Ridge High School by the time the second half got underway, and then senior Jenny Richards recorded the winning goal off a penalty kick, as Pinnacle wrapped up the 4-2 win.