The Desert Vista soccer programs were unable to pull off the dual celebration this time around.
A year after the Thunder swept the trophies at the Billy Vanney/Tempe Diablo tournaments, both squads were knocked out in the semifinals on Thursday at the Tempe Sports Complex.
The Thunder (2-4) boys fell 2-0 to Hamilton, while the girls dropped a hard-fought 2-1 tilt with Highland.
Hamilton (7-0) got two goals, which isn’t easy against Desert Vista goalie Tim O’Brien, as Gabriel Para Munoz and Connor Follet able to crack the Thunder defense.
“We have a lot of things going on right now, a lot of excuses, which I hate,” said Thunder coach Mike Rabasca, who alluded to five players dealing with injuries. They all started but didn’t finish.
“You get to the semis and you’d think you’d be happy. I’d be much happier with a 3-1 record instead of a 2-2 record. The Gilbert game (on Tuesday) was a game we should have come out with the win, but there is something about this group that we are still trying to figure out.”
The girls had an intense match, as they always seem to do, with the Hawks (5-0) as Highland got the go-ahead goal in the final three minutes on a corner kick that was a player was able to redirect with a header.
The Thunder took the lead on a goal by Brooke Leftwich, but the Hawks scored in the finals minutes of the first half off Tori Rinsem’s right foot and then Highland’s Bri Hatch scored on Jackie Strom’s corner kick in the finals minutes of the match for the win.
“That’s typical Highland – executing a set piece,” Thunder coach Marvin Hypolite said.
The Thunder (3-3) lost 3-2 earlier in the season to the Hawks and fell 1-0 to Hamilton in pool play on Wednesday.
Desert Vista is playing well coming off last year’s state runner-up finish, but haven’t been able to get past two of teams expected to be in contention for the state title down the line.
“I am satisfied with the way we are playing,” Hypolite said. “I am seeing the things we are doing and as long as we keep playing like that we will a lot of matches. We just have to finish a little better.”
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