Previewing the high school soccer state championships
The usual suspects and a couple newcomers highlight the 2013-14 Arizona Interscholastic Association soccer state championships Saturday.
The Division I and II championships for both boys and girls from Campo Verde High School in Gilbert will be broadcast on FOX Sports Arizona. The day’s first three title matches will air live, and the nightcap, the Division I boys championship, will be tape delayed until 9 p.m. Saturday.
Here is a look at what to expect:
Division I: Chandler Hamilton vs. Phoenix Brophy, 6 p.m. (tape delayed, 9 p.m.)
This is the fifth straight year at least one of these programs has advanced to the finals and the third season in the past five that the Huskies and Broncos will meet for the title.
Brophy claimed the 2010 title with a 1-0 win over Hamilton, which exacted a bit of revenge a year later with a 2-1 victory in overtime. Brophy won it all last year, beating Desert Vista in the final.
Hamilton is the No. 1 seed but had to score twice in the final seven minutes to edge Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor 4-3 in the semifinals. The Huskies were scored on just seven times in the regular season and nine times before Wednesday’s semifinal.
Brophy, too, had to sweat out its championship berth. The Broncos trailed Phoenix Alhambra in overtime before John Rea pulled them even and Brophy prevailed 3-2 in penalty kicks.
Division II: Tucson High vs. Glendale Copper Canyon, 1 p.m.
No matter which team wins, it will be its first state championship. In fact, neither team has ever made a title match appearance before.
Even their most recent history suggests it is a surprise they’re still here. Tucson entered the state tournament as the No. 4 seed, while Copper Canyon was No. 6.
Each team earned its championship spot with defense. Copper Canyon allowed just one goal in beating Yuma Cibola, Phoenix Thunderbird and San Luis, while Tucson gave up a total of two scores in thwarting Vail Cienega, Nogales and Yuma Kofa.
Division I: Phoenix Pinnacle vs. Gilbert Perry, 3:30 p.m.
This Perry team is just the school’s second to play for a state championship in any sport.
"There are not enough great words to say or show how proud I am of them," Perry first-year coach Jason Dunn told the East Valley Tribune after the Pumas’ 1-0 victory in Thursday’s semifinals.
Pinnacle, meanwhile, is back in the title match after a two-year hiatus. The Pioneers won it all in 2011 and were runners-up in 2009.
Jorian Baucom booted Pinnacle into the championship with two goals in the semifinals — which happens to match the number of goals the Pioneers have allowed since the calendar turned.
"We have a strong back line, we are a force to be reckoned with, but I know Perry is going to bring us a big game," Pinnacle coach Suzanne Kirchner told the Arizona Republic.
Division II: Tucson Catalina Foothills vs. Buckeye Verrado, 10:30 a.m.
Catalina Foothill is the top seed and two-time defending state champion in Division II after having won back-to-back Class 4A Division I titles in 2010 and 2011.
Verrado, the No. 2 seed, will be playing for its first state title in its first season at the Division II level. The Vipers played in the Division III state tournament the previous two seasons but fell in the semifinals both times.
"We felt that we were the best team in Division III the last couple of years, just that we didn’t get the results we wanted," Verrado coach David Hopkinson told AIA365.com after his team’s 2-0 semifinal win over Flagstaff High on Thursday.
Foothills has lost just one match this season, and its dominance extends nearly a decade. The Falcons have won the state title in eight of the past 11 seasons.
REPLAY SCHEDULE ON FOX SPORTS ARIZONA
Division I boys: Monday, 8 p.m.; Feb. 24, 7 p.m.
Division I girls: Monday, 6 p.m.; Feb. 24, 5 p.m.
Division II boys: Monday, 4 p.m.; Wednesday, noon
Division II girls: Monday, 2 p.m.; Tuesday, 1:30 p.m.