Based on the results of last night’s boys’ soccer semi-finals in Division I, this just may be the year that Hamilton High School shakes off the ghost of seasons past.
The Huskies scored two goals in the first half and three more after intermission to cruise to a 5-0 shellacking of No. 1-seed Chaparral High School. They rode the magical foot of senior Danny Arrubla, who scored the first four goals to solidify the upset win and run his season total to 39. Armando Gonzales put the icing on the cake with the final goal.
Now, Hamilton gets another shot at Brophy Prep, which earned its way into the championship game Saturday with an overtime victory against Tolleson High School.
While that’s a good thing for Hamilton nation, it also sets up a meeting with a team it has found difficult to beat. The Broncos have managed to escape with four straight wins against Hamilton – each time winning by a single goal.
The one that had to hurt the most was the 1-0 loss to Brophy in last year’s 5A-I state championship game.
Now we have a re-match, and a chance for Hamilton to finally settle the score.
It’s also an opportunity for Hamilton to get another monkey off its back. The Huskies have played for the title the past three years, coming up dry each time.
But the Huskies should be heavily favored over No. 6 Brophy, which had a difficult time getting past No. 10 Tolleson. Brophy didn’t wrap up the game until Riggs Lennon found the net with less than a minute left in the second overtime for the 3-2 victory.
Both teams have been scoring well, with Hamilton racking up 10 goals in the three playoff games and Brophy notching nine.
So it will likely come down to which team can play lock-down defense… and whether the Broncos can keep Arrubla in check for an entire game.
In Division II… Notre Dame Prep spoiled the anticipated meeting of two southern Arizona teams in the championship game.
No. 5 Salpointe Catholic (Tucson) took care of its end of the deal by pulling off an upset over No. 1 Apollo High School, 3-2. But No. 6 Catalina Foothills (Tucson) couldn’t hold off No. 7 Notre Dame Prep, losing to the Saints in overtime.
A pair of goals from Arturo Vega led the way for Salpointe, which posted its second upset of a higher seed. The Lancers blew away No. 4 Greenway High School, 5-0, in the quarterfinals.
But the Notre Dame win came down to the sixth and final penalty kick in overtime. The two teams were still tied after five penalty kicks when Luke Zaro put the sixth shot through the net and the Saints’ goalie, Will Groves, made the game-winning save on Foothills’ final shot.
Salpointe and NDP will get the 1 pm championship game Saturday at Campo Verde High School in Gilbert, while Brophy and Hamilton square off at the same site at 6 pm.