Girl’s Soccer: Desert Christian wins section championship; waits for playoff bracketsby Andy Morales on Oct. 20, 2013, under Sports
Although the top-ranked Desert Christian girl’s soccer team had mathematically secured a sectional championship last Wednesday night at Camp Verde, their 3-0 home victory over River Valley on Saturday solidified their top-seed heading into the state playoffs.
The Eagles (17-1-2, 6-0-1) came up with a team-best 13th shutout of the season with their win over the 4th ranked River Valley squad (3-2-2), avenging an earlier double-overtime 2-2 tie from September.
Their final regular season match also served as Homecoming and it was held at Udall Park.
“The Dust Devils seemed in control of the tempo of the game by ball control and constantly putting pressure on our defense,” explained head coach Mark Harting.
“We seemed to get our game in gear after the fifth minute, finally putting a superb goal in the Dust Devil net at the 10 minute point.”
Junior Juliet Saxton (5th assist) took a pass just short of midfield and lofted a pass to sophomore striker Sarah Butler (29th goal), just over the heads of the River Valley defense. Butler outran the last defender and, as the River Valley keeper came out to clear the ball, she was able to pop it over the head of the keeper, giving the Eagles a 1-0 lead.
In the 18th minute, senior Jenna Cray took a 40-yard shot, hitting the post. That shot “got the fans on the edge of their seats” according to Harting.
“In the 27th minute, Cray took another shot from the 40, again, hitting the post and the rebound came down and rolled to a charging Butler,” said Harting
“Butler kept her head down and shot from the 14 yard line, catching the Dust Devil keeper moving in the wrong direction. It was Jenna’s 22 assist of the year and Sarah’s 30th goal of the season. Both are highs for a single season for the DC Girls Soccer program,” added Harting.
Cray was able to complete the scoring for the evening by striking a 25-yard shot, far post that the Dust Devil keeper couldn’t get to. It was Cray’s 17th goal of the year, and it put the Eagles up 3-0 at the half.
“In the 2nd half we kept constant pressure on River Valley, utilizing ball control and controlling the middle of the pitch,” explained Harting.
“Each time River Valley would counter an attack our defense – led by sophomores Stephanie Smith and Hannah Bjorgum and freshman Raquel Lane and Jacy Prestinario on the outside -would clear and move the ball to the Eagles midfielders, keeping any pressure off senior keeper Lexi Rorrer.”
The Eagles outshot the Dust Devils 8 to 6, with both keepers ending up with 4 saves for their respective teams.
Although Desert Christian has completed their schedule, some teams still have games to play up to Thursday. Division IV girls’ soccer will compete under an 8-team bracket with the first round taking place on Thursday, October 31st.
The top four teams will host a first-round match. The semifinal (Nov. 2) and championship (Nov. 9) rounds will be held at Gilbert Campo Verde High School.
Portions from news release.