A clerical error nearly kept the Desert Vista girls out of the Arizona Soccer Showcase tournament before everything was finally cleared up.
The rest of the field in the Maroon Bracket probably wishes the Thunder were left high and dry after Desert Vista won the event on Tuesday morning, finishing it off with a 2-1 win over the Mountain Pointe at the Reach 11 Sports Complex.
“I’m not about rankings and all of that,” Thunder coach Marvin Hypolite said. “I am about getting as many opportunities as we can get to get better and if we weren’t able to play we would missed that chance.”
The Thunder paid the entry fee in the offseason, but it was never recorded so when then tournament field and schedule came out Desert Vista didn’t have a place in the tournament. It looked like the Thunder would only practice during the winter break until it was discovered another team never paid.
So Desert Vista got it and went 6-0 by outscoring opponents 18-2 to improve to 11-3 overall after substitute goalie Kacey Curtain and the defense did the job again, giving up a goal late in the first half to the Pride’s Ashleigh Turk, to earn the Maroon Bracket championship.
“The defense did great and fought every battle and weren’t shy to tackle,” sophomore Tatum Heeres said. “Sam (Iannone) and Riley (Connor) played really well with (defender) Kristen (Malley) out.”
Heeres did her part as well when she used her left foot off an Erica Richardson assist to take the early one goal advantage before Mountain Pointe got the equalizer. The Thunder’s Amelia Kovacs got the game winner about halfway through the second half.
The Pride (7-5) had a great tournament as they didn’t give up a goal until the finals against the Thunder to finish 4-1.
More importantly, at least to coach Mark Wilson, is the fact they got a feel for the Thunder before their regular season clash on Jan. 9.
“We had our chances and that is valuable,” he said. “Now I know we don’t have to go into a shell and we can defend much higher up. We were right there.
“But we played great overall and you can’t complain. We are injured so there has been a lot of movement and the girls responded.”
Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or JSkoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.