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Pusch Ridge girls fall in semifinals to NW Christian

Citizen Staff Writer



MESA – The state championship run of the Pusch Ridge Christian Academy girls soccer team ended a day earlier than the team would have liked.

For the Canyon del Oro and Douglas boys and Sahuaro and Flowing Wells girls soccer teams, Saturday brings one final chance to win state championship trophies.

CDO plays No. 2 Scottsdale Chaparral at noon Saturday at Tucson High for the Class 4A Division I boys soccer championship. Douglas plays Phoenix Cortez for the 4A-II boys title at Arizona State University at 3 p.m.

Also at Tucson High, the Flowing Wells and Sahuaro girls teams play at 2:30 p.m. for the 4A-I girls state title.

For the Pusch Ridge girls, it didn’t take long in Friday’s Class 1A/2A/3A semifinal game at Mesa Mountain View High School to realize it was going to be a long night.

Phoenix Northwest Christian took an early 2-0 lead with goals in the first and ninth minutes and cruised to a 3-1 win to beat Pusch Ridge and advance to Saturday’s state championship.

“It brought them down mentally and it was hard to win that back after they were up two,” Pusch Ridge coach Betsy Souza said.

Northwest Christian sophomore Caitlyn Mains scored both of the early goals. A shellshocked Pusch Ridge team wasn’t able to mount a comeback.

“I think their nerves were definitely on them,” Souza said, “and this is one of the few opportunities to get this far.”

The Lions were able to muster just two shots on goal in the first half as Northwest Christian controlled possession.

Pusch Ridge got on the board in the 36th minute as Laura Calvert deflected a ball off of Northwest Christian’s Ashlyn Jacks, which skirted past Crusaders goalie Abby Irwin.

“To get that one back, I thought there might be a chance,” Souza said.

But Northwest Christian scored again in the 46th minute to end the drama.

Despite the loss, Souza is happy with what this year’s team has built for the future.

“We actually have, I think, some good freshmen coming in next year,” Souza said. “I’m looking for some good results next year as well.”



4A-I girls championship: No. 9 Flowing Wells vs. No. 3 Sahuaro (2:30 p.m., Tucson High)

4A-I boys championship: No. 5 Scottsdale Chaparral vs. No. 2 Canyon del Oro (noon, Tucson High)

4A-II boys championship: No. 5 Phoenix Cortez vs. No. 2 Douglas (3 p.m., Arizona State University; TV – Cox 7)

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