TUCSON – This was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Bradshaw Mountain girls soccer program.
Instead, the 2018-19 Bears exceeded expectations before bowing out in the 4A state play-in round on Thursday, Feb. 7.
Bradshaw Mountain suffered a narrow 1-0 loss at 14th-seeded Estrella Foothills, ending the No. 19-seeded Bears’ season with a 7-6-0 record. This was the second straight campaign that the Bears succumbed in the play-in round.
Estrella Foothills (11-3-0), the Southwest region champ, now will advance to the 16-team state tournament, which kicks off at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9, with the first round at the eight highest-seeded teams’ fields.
The Wolves, an at-large team, have now won nine of their last 11 matches since Dec. 13. Bradshaw Mountain ended its season losing five of its last seven matches since Jan. 10.
On Thursday, Estrella Foothills scored the match’s lone goal with 5 minutes left in the first half.
“We fought, and we battled,” Bradshaw Mountain coach John Sterling said. “Two injuries hurt us [on Thursday], and for whatever reason that has been causing us lots of problems this season. But I couldn’t be prouder of the girls. They worked hard, and they played hard.”
The Top 8 seeds for the 4A girls earned automatic berths to the state tournament, while the Nos. 9 through 24 seeds were paired in Thursday’s one-game play-in round to decide the final eight berths.
Arcadia, Catalina Foothills, Flagstaff, Prescott, Sahuaro, Salpointe Catholic, Seton Catholic and Thunderbird garnered the top seeds.
Estrella Foothills advances to the 4A state tournament’s first round at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9, at an opponent to be determined. The Wolves will learn their seed in the 16-team state tournament bracket at 2:30 p.m. today, Feb. 8, during the live bracket show on azpreps365.com.
Doug Cook is a reporter for The Daily Courier. Follow him on Twitter at @dougout_dc. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 928-445-3333, ext. 2039.