2 Brower scores lift Cougars; J. Schultz nets pair for Cabs
Sahuaro's Lily Haspert (left) kicks the ball in front of Scottsdale Chaparral's Kelly Rising during the first half of Wednesday's Class 4A-I playoff game at Tucson High School on Wednesday night. Sahuaro won 2-1 to reach the state championship game against Flowing Wells on Saturday.
No one on the Sahuaro High School girls soccer team was alive the last time the team played for a state championship 25 years ago.
Apparently a lifetime was long enough.
The Cougars, seeded No. 3, topped No. 2 Scottsdale Chaparral 2-1 Wednesday night to advance to the Class 4A Division I state title game.
While Saturday’s championship game will be unfamiliar territory for Sahuaro, the opponent won’t be.
Fellow 4A Kino Region school Flowing Wells, the No. 9 seed, beat No. 4 Prescott High 4-1 on Wednesday, as the Caballeros advanced to their third state title game in the past four years.
Flowing Wells and Sahuaro, which split two games played earlier this season, play at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Tucson High for the 4A-I championship.
Sahuaro 2, Chaparral 1
At their first practice of the season, Sahuaro decided nothing less than the championship would be accepted
“We said from day one Feb. 14,” Sahuaro coach Dave Kruszewski said of the day of the title match. “That has been our goal.”
On Wednesday, the duo of Lily Haspert and Miranda Brower made sure it happened, connecting on both goals in the Cougars come-from-behind victory over Chaparral.
“Lily and I usually hook up on a lot of the goals,” said Brower, who scored both goals off Haspert assists. “Her throw-ins and my head: I’m great out of the air. I love her throw-ins and I capitalize on them.”
Zoe Smith put Chaparral up 1-0 in the sixth minute, but Sahuaro didn’t waste any time answering. Haspert sent a corner kick in the box in the ninth minute, setting up Brower’s goal to tie the game.
“We work really well together,” Haspert said. “We might have a gotten a little too relaxed, but once we scored, we have no choice but to come back. We stay together, stay confident.”
In the 45th minute, the duo connected again as Brower headed the ball past a diving Jordan Grawn inside the box.
“I think because our region is so good, it helps us to prepare for the state tournament,” Kruszewski said. “Other regions don’t have the benefits of having so many top teams. When we get here, we’ve already had a number of close ones, so we are used to it.”
Three of the four semifinalists a year ago were from the Kino Region and this makes the second consecutive season the 4A-I state title game has been an all-Kino affair (Sabino beat Cienega for the 2008 title).
Flowing Wells 4, Prescott 1
No. 9 seed Flowing Wells earned a return trip to the 4A-I title game thanks to a pair of goals from Jasmine Schultz in a 4-1 win over No. 4 Prescott.
“I thought it was very aggressive and was very exciting,” said Schultz, who scored in the 34th and 57th minutes. “Prescott did a good job and they really wanted it today. We had a little trouble getting it together in the first half, but we got it together and really stepped it up.”
Schultz’s first goal in the 34th minute was followed up 35 seconds later by teammate Celeste Carrera when she broke down the wing and put the ball past a diving Briana Williams to put Flowing Wells up 2-0.
“I just saw the gap. Skye (Schultz, Jasmine’s sister) hit it and I sprinted to get to it,” Carrera said. “I saw the keeper (Williams) coming out and the gap and just hit it in.”
Skye Schultz added a goal in the final minute of the game. She has been a part of all three of Flowing Wells championship game teams in the past four year.
Saturday’s state final will mark the third meeting between Sahuaro and Flowing Wells this year. Sahuaro won 2-1 in the regular season and Flowing Wells answered with a 3-2 win in the Kino Region championship game.
Class 5A Division I
With under four minutes remaining in a scoreless tie, No. 4 Phoenix Desert Vista senior Kristen Kastelic scored the only goal in a 1-0 win over No. 8 Salpointe Catholic in the 5A-I semifinals at the Arizona State University Soccer Stadium.
“I couldn’t believe it because I never score,” Kastelic said. “With four minutes left I was freaking out. I was like, ‘Please, can we get a goal?’ I am so happy that I could be the one to do it for the team.”
Salpointe ends its season with a 19-7 record and the 5A-I Southern Region championship.
– SAM GOOD, For The Arizona Republic
Class 4A Division II
Top-seeded Cottonwood Mingus advanced to the 4A Division II championship game with a 2-1 win over No. 8 Douglas on Wednesday at Paradise Valley High School.
Mingus coach Buddy Rhodes said Douglas kept the pressure on the entire game, so he was grateful to come out on top.
“(Douglas is) a very good team,” Rhodes said. “They came in well-prepared, and the game could have gone either way.”
Douglas goalkeeper Elizabeth Clark kept the game scoreless until Mingus freshman Torey Braly scored in the 51st minute.
Douglas answered in the 59th minute on a Leilani Skinner goal.
Mingus’ game-winner came on a Natalie Rivera goal with just three minutes left in the game.
– JONATHAN FRANKEL, For the Arizona Republic
For more on high school sports, check out the Grammer School sports blog.
Flowing Wells teammates Randi Fisher (left) and Celeste Carrera celebrate after Carrera scored a goal in the first half of Wednesday's Class 4A-I playoff game against Prescott High at Tucson High School. Flowing Wells won 4-1 to advance to the state championship game against Sahuaro.
Phoenix Desert Vista's Kim Grennan, left, battles with Salpointe's Rebekah DeJonghe, middle, and Kelli Ford, right, during Wednesday's Class 5A Division I girls soccer semifinal.
5A-II boys championship: No. 3 Rincon/University vs. No. 1 Tolleson (7 p.m., Grand Canyon University in Phoenix)
4A-I boys semifinals: No. 2 Canyon del Oro vs. No. 3 Sabino (7 p.m., Tucson High)
4A-II boys semifinals: No. 2 Douglas vs. No. 11 Phoenix Raymond S. Kellis (7 p.m., Phoenix Paradise Valley High School)
1A/2A/3A girls semifinals: No. 4 Pusch Ridge vs. No. 8 Phoenix Northwest Christian (5 p.m., Mesa Mountain View)
4A-I girls championship: No. 9 Flowing Wells vs. No. 3 Sahuaro (2:30 p.m., Tucson High)
4A-I boys championship: TBD (noon, Tucson High)
4A-II boys championship: TBD (3 p.m., Arizona State University)
1A/2A/3A girls championship: TBD (10:30 a.m., Arizona State University)