Girls Soccer Team Is Going To State

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It’ll be Deja vu all over again when Tucson Desert Christian and the Lady Longhorns clash Oct. 30 in a girls soccer state first-round game at Tempe Sports Complex.

The two also met in the first round of the state tournament last year at TSC.

In that game, which turned into a nail bitter, the Lady Horns pushed the highly favored West region champions to the brink, before falling 4-2 in a shootout that followed two pulsating overtime periods.

Candice Ayers’ clutch come-from-behind goal in OT propelled the game into the shootout.

This year, just like in the 2008 tournament, the Lady Horns enter the post-season fray as the East’s No. 4 and final seed.

Desert Christian is the West’s No. 1 seed and brings to the contest a slue of lofty credentials that include a 16-2 overall record, 10-0 in the West, and an 11-game winning streak.

The Tucson private school’s only two losses this season were 2-1 to Kirtland, N.M. and 4-0 to Blue Ridge. Both defeats were inflicted during the Show Low Invitational.

The Lady Horns also met DC in the tournament, on Sept. 11, losing a 1-0 defensive struggle.

Tucson enters the tournament having outscored its opponents 63-10 and led by one of the West region’s finest athletes in senior striker and midfielder Caitlin Duran.

Duran, also a team captain, leads DC in goals (19), assists (11) and shots (79).

PHS coach Joe Schmidt will take to the tournament a team that has had its up and downs this season.

Some of the problems have been due to injuries, illness and suspensions.

In mid-October, Schmidt was without eight of his players, several of them from the defense. The most recent injuries were ankle and foot sprains and breaks to Natalie Moceri and Sarah Cluff. All season long, the PHS offense has been fueled by the one-two punch of Tanya Olson and Becca Branstetter.

In a regular season 8-0 win over Holbrook, the pair scored two goals each.

In a 3-2 victory over Snowflake, Olson scored two breakaway goals and Branstetter scored on a pass from Olson. Alayna Hauptman has also played well at goalie.

State game time on Field No. 6 at Tempe Sports Complex is 5 p.m. Should the Lady Horns win, the team would advance to a semifinal game at noon the following day on field No. 5 at TSC.

The opponent would be the winner of a first-round game pitting East No. 2 Show Low against West No. 3 River Valley. The championship is at noon Nov. 7 at Camp Verde High.

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