TUCSON — For the second straight season, two-time defending state champion Salpointe Catholic has sent Prescott’s girls soccer team home in the 4A state tournament.
In the quarterfinals on Wednesday, Feb. 13, the third-seeded Lancers blanked the sixth-seeded Badgers, 1-0, on a late goal off a corner kick, eliminating Prescott from title contention.
“I cannot be more proud of the fight the girls showed [Wednesday],” Badgers coach Paul Campuzano said. “We were in a physical fight for the entire 80 minutes, and we never backed down.”
It has been an impressive run over the past three years for the Badgers, who have qualified for state in each season. In the 2018 tournament, Salpointe Catholic shut out Prescott, 5-0, in the semifinals. In 2017, Thunderbird eliminated the Badgers, 1-0, also in the semis.
Salpointe Catholic, a rejuvenated stalwart program, won state titles in 2017 and 2018, and it finished as the state runner-up in 2016. In their history, the Lancers have captured six state championships and five runner-up trophies since 1990.
“Credit to Salpointe – they are so well-coached and have a real high-character team,” Campuzano said.
The third-seeded Lancers (13-1-0 record in power-point matches) move on to the semifinals on Saturday, Feb. 16. Sixth-seeded Prescott, the Grand Canyon region runner-up, ended its season at 11-3-0.
Campuzano credited his seniors, including Rebekah Norris, Erika Smith, Shelby Cecil, Emma Townsend, Tori Ratajski and Sydney Seely, for their leadership, saying they “will all be missed and I am confident in their future success.”
“Our seniors were the difference this year,” Campuzano said. “They have been to state three years in a row, and never were comfortable with it [simply qualifying]. They tested me and their teammates, and demanded more from us all, which leaves me hopeful for the future.”
Salpointe Catholic faces No. 2 Arcadia, which defeated No. 7 Sahuaro, 2-1, in the quarterfinals on Tuesday, in the semifinals at 5 p.m. Feb. 16 at Williams Field High School in Gilbert.
The 4A state championship match is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19, also at Williams Field.
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.