6A state soccer titles belong to ‘neighbors’ Brophy, Xavier

Brophy College Prep and Xavier College Prep are neighbors.  The campuses for the two Catholic high schools, Brophy a boys’ school and Xavier a girls’ school, actually butt up against each other.

Today, they share more than a large chunk of land in central Phoenix.

Each has a brand-new 6A state championship soccer trophy to add to their already well-stocked collections.  And yesterday, each also earned a special notation in the history books.

No. 3-seeded Brophy won its title match against No. 1 San Luis High School, 3-2, to become the first high school in boys’ soccer to win three straight state championships.  At the same time, fifth-seeded Xavier upset No. 3 Chaparral High to become the team that ended the Firebirds’ run of four consecutive state titles that included two 5A crowns and the last two after moving up to 6A.

The Broncos had to beat an undefeated San Luis team that spent most of the season ranked No. 1 in The Arizona Republic‘s Super 10 that includes teams from across all conferences.  The Sidewinders had been to two championship games before, but were looking for their first state title.  Both teams had dominated the competition in the rounds leading up to yesterday’s title game.

In a game that lived up to the hype, it took a shootout to decide this year’s champion.  After sophomore defender Erick Quirarte gave San Luis a 1-0 lead in the first half, Brophy’s Charlie Cobb, who leads the conference in scoring, evened things up with a second-half goal to send the game into overtime, to be decided by penalty kicks.  The Broncos won the shootout, 3-2 — and the title.

For the Xavier girls, they had already experienced a game of heart-stopping drama.  That  came in the semifinals against top-seeded Perry HS when sophomore midfielder Bella Leonard launched a 41-yard rocket that careened off the crossbar and into the net with three seconds left in overtime for the 1-0 win

But the Gators (10-2-1) took an early lead over the Firebirds (13-3) in the title game as junior midfielder Hennessy Perez took an assist from Megan McGinty to drive home the first goal in the first half, and then a stubborn Gator defense protected the lead until sophomore forward Eva Allen added the insurance goal with less than a minute left on the clock for the 2-0 victory.

This championship match-up lived up to the expectations, since both teams went into the title game on the momentum of a five-game winning streak.

Yesterday was definitely not a good day for the Firebirds, who were looking at a good chance for a sweep.

But no storybook ending for the Scottsdale power.  The third-seeded Chaparral girls lost in the finals, and the No. 2 boys’ team was upset by Brophy in the semifinals.