The seeding for this year’s Division I girls’ high school state soccer playoffs was spot on, as the results of yesterday’s first round confirmed. Every one of the top eight seeds advanced to the quarterfinals.
Of course, there were the expected early-tourney blow-outs. No. 1-seed Xavier Prep rolled over No. 16 Red Mountain High, 5-0… No. 2 Perry High dominated No. 15 Millennium High in a 2-0 shutout… and No. 3 Desert Vista High ran all over No. 14 Chandler High in a 6-1 rout.
However, No. 7 Desert Mountain High School and No. 8 Camp Verde High both needed overtime periods to escape their opening games and live to play another day.
That’s usually where the excitement is during first-round play, right in the mid-seedings where the teams are pretty evenly-matched. And yesterday was no exception.
Campo Verde overcame a 1-0 deficit in the second half to tie up the score before the end of regulation, and then won the game with Corona del Sol in overtime on penalty kicks. Olivia Nguyen gave the Aztecs the first lead of the game following a scoreless first half, and Sebrina Rodriguez tied it up for Campo with a goal off a free kick in the 73rd minute.
Corona took the lead once again when the game boiled down to PKs, netting its first kick, but that’s when the Coyotes’goalkeeper, Amanda Canzona, stepped up big with three saves to hold off the Corona kickers and lead Camp Verde to the 3-2 advantage in penalty kicks – and the win. The junior keeper also helped the cause by netting one of the penalty-kick attempts.
The loss was especially frustrating for Corona since the Aztecs were eliminated from last year’s state tournament in similar fashion, on penalty kicks.
Campo’s reward for their hard-fought victory in front of a home crowd? They’re now faced with playing top-seeded Xavier in Saturday’s quarterfinal match – on Xavier’s home turf.
The fact that they will get a chance to play the Gators is an accomplishment in itself. Campo Verde was playing in Division III three years ago, when they won the state title. The Coyotes moved up to play the next two years in D-II, finishing last season as runner-up. And now they’re competing in D-I where they’ve won 11 games and are still alive in the state tournament.
Meanwhile, the other heart-stopper was taking place down in Scottsdale where Desert Mountain was hosting Mountain Pointe in a game that went through regulation and two overtime periods before Desert Mountain squeezed out the 4-2 win.
The Wolves, who were the top seed in last year’s playoffs, are under a new head coach this season and have stacked up 12 wins so far despite trying to reload with a young squad.
Their reward for yesterday’s win? Desert Mountain will take on No. 2 Perry in the next round.