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Prescott fervently seeks state title run
Prep Girls Soccer – Season Preview

Prescott girls soccer head coach Paul Campuzano gives out instructions for a drill at the team’s practice on Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019, in Prescott. (Aaron Valdez/Courier)

Prescott girls soccer head coach Paul Campuzano gives out instructions for a drill at the team’s practice on Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019, in Prescott. (Aaron Valdez/Courier)

PRESCOTT — There’s no doubt that Prescott girls soccer is a strong team that should never be taken lightly. But the question still remains: Can the Badgers reach the 4A state championship after falling short the last three seasons?

Head coach Paul Campuzano returns for his third year to lead the Badgers into another season where they’re projected to be one of the top teams in 4A. Much of that is due to the high amount of returners this year.

“The team looks wonderful. They are a really, really strong group with a lot of returners,” said Campuzano, who also coaches multiple of his Prescott players on his Phoenix Rising FC club team. “Three years of state, making deep runs, we’re looking to finally get over the final hump and maybe win a state title.”

Campuzano added that this season’s roster features an abundance of high-IQ players that are not only able to carry out his style of play, but also improvise when necessary.

Interestingly enough, the Badgers’ biggest strength in recent years has been their speed. But now with the newly renovated Bill Shepard Field, they plan to keep the ball on the floor and play a more possession-based attack.

“In the past, we’ve been more speed. Get there fast, fast, fast. But this year I think we’re going to play more to how well we can pass since we have a new field,” said Prescott senior defender Alexa Sell. “So it’s going to be how well we can hold the ball, how long we can do it and then eventually blitzing up top.”

Prescott’s biggest losses from last year were holding midfielder Sydney Seeley, who was a four-year starter at that position, and Grand Canyon Region Goalkeeper of the Year Rebekah Norris. The team also lost a couple of attacking players but Campuzano feels the senior trio of Lily Jensen, Emma Alvarez and Kari Kasun will fill that void quite nicely.

Last but definitely not least, senior forward Sawyer Magnett, who led the Badgers last year in goals (19) and assists (8), will be returning.

“I think we’re a big threat to most teams and they know that because the teams we beat last year, we beat a couple times the year before that. So there’s a lot of teams out to get us, which it’ll be fun to beat them,” Kasun said.

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Prescott senior midfielder Kari Kasun Makes a pass during a warm-up drill at the team’s practice on Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019, in Prescott. (Aaron Valdez/Courier)

The Badgers will open their 12-game schedule with a freedom home game against Poston Butte on Dec. 3 at 5 p.m. They will then play an outlying region home game against Mingus on Dec. 5 at 5 p.m., an entire five weeks before their next region game.

The meat of region action will kick off against defending Grand Canyon champs Flagstaff, who edged Prescott (5-1) last season with a 6-0 record. For the rivalry game against Bradshaw Mountain, the Badgers will head to Bob Pavlich Field in Prescott Valley to face the Bears on Feb. 4 at 3 p.m.

Salpointe Catholic, the team that knocked out Prescott from the playoffs the last two years, will not have a meeting with the Badgers in the regular season. However, the Badgers are hoping to get their revenge if the two sides were to meet again in state.

“The talent is there. It was there last year, but I think the mental pieces are what we’ve been working on until now,” Campuzano said. “It’s nice when a group of girls can pull together and hopefully commit to this process because it can’t be for two weeks, it can’t be for three weeks, it’s got to be every minute of every game.”

Aaron Valdez is a sports reporter for The Daily Courier of Prescott News Network. Follow him on Twitter at @Valaaron_94. Email avaldez@prescottaz.com or call 928-445-3333, ext. 2031.

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