What are the odds that two different schools can send both their boys and girls teams to the state championships – and come back without a single title among them?
It happened last night, as Desert Vista High School competed for the boys and girls soccer titles in Division I play and Apollo High School sent both of its teams into the Division II championship games.
To be fair, the odds were not with either school. Apollo’s teams are just the latest to try to dethrone the powerful Tucson soccer programs, while Desert Vista’s boys team faced off against the state’s top team, No. 1-seeded Brophy Prep, a perennial soccer power that has now won two of the last three state titles.
The Desert Vista girls team had arguably the best chance out of the four teams to bring home a title this year since their opponent in the championship game was Xavier Prep, a team which has been hampered all season with a string of injuries, and the loss of a key player that transferred out.
But the Gators managed to pull out a 1-0 victory when Kelly Peay scored with under 10 minutes remaining in the game, on a header off a corner kick from Alexis Allar.
In the boys game, Brophy didn’t get on the scoreboard until the second half, but that was mainly due to the fact that four starters sat out that period for disciplinary reasons. When the squad returned to full strength, Ryan Grotjohn started the scoring by punching in a goal from three yards out just minutes into the second half, and Riggs Lennon added the insurance goal in the 74th minute to secure the 2-0 win.
For Lennon, a senior forward, it was his 59th goal of the season as he has led the Broncos to a 19-2 overall record and an undefeated run through the region competition.
In Division II, the Tucson schools continued their reign.
Salpointe Catholic repeated as the boys state champion with a 2-0 win over Apollo to cap a whirlwind ride through the playoffs that saw the Lancers outscore opponents 18-1.
The ‘Cinderella’ story of Apollo’s rise from its position as a No. 14 seed to the title game ended when No. 4 Salpointe scored two long goals in the second half, the first by sophomore Gavino Carranza from 20 yards out and the second by senior Colin O’Brien from close to midfield.
Catalina Foothills was even more dominant in its 3-0 win over the Apollo girls to earn its fourth straight title, two in Division I and now a pair in Division II. That makes seven state championships since the school began collecting the trophies back in 2005.
Emily Parker, the prolific sophomore forward, got the Falcons going in the first half, converting a corner kick into the game’s first goal, and then scoring again late in the contest. Aminah Settles provided the team’s third score, also off a corner kick from Maddie Parker.