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Young Nighthawks advance to Champions Cup final

Ironwood Ridge's Camie Barbera (21) celebrates scoring a goal against Tucson High with teammate Grace Crandall (19) on Monday during the Tucson Champions Cup. Ironwood Ridge won 1-0.  At left is Tucson High's Malyn Gilbert (13).

Ironwood Ridge's Camie Barbera (21) celebrates scoring a goal against Tucson High with teammate Grace Crandall (19) on Monday during the Tucson Champions Cup. Ironwood Ridge won 1-0. At left is Tucson High's Malyn Gilbert (13).

Ironwood Ridge beat an evenly matched Tucson High 1-0 Monday afternoon in the semifinals of the Tucson Champions Cup.

The lone goal came from Camie Barbera off of a Christina Farrell assist with just over 13 minutes remaining in the match and pushed the tide into the Nighthawks favor.

“We don’t want a repeat of last year,” Farrell said, referring to Ironwood Ridge’s 2007 championship game loss in the tournament hosted by Tucson High.

Ironwood Ridge will play Yuma Cibola in Tuesday’s tournament championship at noon at Tucson High.

After its lone goal, Ironwood Ridge kept possession of the ball for the majority of the rest of the match.

There were only a combined five shots on goal in the first half and the ball rarely went past either set of defenders.

“We did a really good job at midfield holding onto the ball,” said Ironwood Ridge coach Sean Watkins. “We just couldn’t break through the defense.”

Tucson High ended up with five shots on goal in the game to eight for Ironwood Ridge.

Ironwood Ridge keeper Brooke Seavitt, a transfer from New York, had four saves to preserve the shutout.

The young Nighthawks squad has several freshman logging heavy minutes, including Barbera, forward Kaitlyn Lopez and midfielder Katie Cocchi, who was recently called up from JV.

Watkins expects Lopez to be the team’s “most dangerous player” the rest of the season.

“They are young and make freshmen mistakes,” Watkins said, “but they don’t necessarily play like freshmen.”

The Nighthawks beat Cienega, Salpointe and Sabino earlier in the tournament.

For more on high school sports, check out the Grammer School sports blog.

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