Four times in the history of high school soccer in Arizona, two Ahwatukee teams advanced two teams to the state finals in the same season.
This ain’t one of them.
The Desert Vista boys (13-9-1) were the only team able to advance past the Division I first round, but lost in penalty kicks to No. 1 Hamilton (22-1) on Saturday.
The other three DI programs all lost in the first round to see the 2013-14 season come to an end.
Each team showed signs of putting together a good string of minutes but didn’t do it consistently enough all season and subsequently didn’t win enough matches to earn a good enough seed to get a favorable matchup in the postseason.
The Pride girls finished (13-9) as the 16th seed and had to take on No. 1 Pinnacle in the first round and fell 3-0 in a respectable loss on Wednesday. They’ve played at a high level at times as they made the finals of the Arizona Soccer Showcase at the end of December before losing to Desert Vista in the finals.
The Pride boys were the 10th seed and couldn’t get past No. 7 Ironwood in a 3-0 defeat on Tuesday.
“Obviously, we would have liked to put on a better performance in the playoffs, but after missing the playoffs the last two years making it back this year was a tremendous accomplishment that we can all be proud of,” Mountain Pointe coach Bryan Sabato said. “Ironwood is a tremendously talented team that has a long history of success.”
The Pride (14-8) finished the season strong after getting off to an uneven start, losing five of its first six matches. It’s pretty clear Mountain Pointe was able to put it together and forged one of the program’s better seasons in recent years.
“We finished the season 13-3 over the last 16 games,” Sabato said. “We qualified as a No. 10 seed along with winning the Maroon Division of the Arizona Soccer Showcase. We exceeded our early season expectations.”
Sabato hopes it is a building block to continued success.
“The seniors provided great leadership,” he said, ”that our returning players can continue to build on.”
The Thunder girls (17-7) had hoped to build off last year’s state runner-up finish, but the loss of a talented senior group put the onus on young nucleus.
Desert Vista, the 13th seed, nearly pulled off a first-round upset as the Thunder took No. 4 Xavier to overtime and eventually lost via penalty kicks after being tied at 1 after the end of regulation.
Although they didn’t advance the Thunder grew in the defeat considering they lost 2-0 to the Gators just two weeks earlier.
“We have a young team,” Desert Vista coach Marvin Hypolite said. “To hold the defending champions to double overtime and PKs these girls showed a lot of maturity and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
Another strong senior class will leave the program but with the contingent coming back it won’t be long before the Thunder make another run at qualifying for a state final for the sixth time in school history.
“The season outlook is very promising,” Hypolite said. “Even though we lost this game we have a lot to take home. A lot.”
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