The opening game of the year pitted neighborhood rivals Desert Vista and Mountain Pointe boys soccer teams at Karl Kiefer Stadium Tuesday night.
Nothing like a toasty rivalry to keep warm on a chilly November evening.
The Thunder started cold as well, but got hot late in a 3-0 win in the Ahwatukee Cup.
The all-important first goal came just before halftime on a late opportunity as senior Brian Piotrowski scored in the 35th minute with an assist from Tyler Angell.
Before that both teams started off slow with very few legitimate scoring chances. Mountain Pointe controlled the ball more often than Desert Vista, but had nothing to show for it.
Mountain Pointe played at less than full strength as its two captains missed the game.
Senior goalie Kevin Kadisak did not play because of preparation for the football team's semifinal match-up versus Hamilton where Kadisak will do the place kicking. Senior defender Ryan Leach was ineligible to play due to a red card in last season's finale, earning him a one-game suspension at the beginning of this year.
"Anytime you don't have those two guys playing it hurts us tremendously," Mountain Pointe coach Bryan Sabato said. "Not having them was definitely a huge factor in the game."
Desert Vista stayed in control of the game in the second half, adding goals in the 51st and 62nd minute by Mitch Abernathy and Cesar Sandoval, respectively. Even with the fairly easy victory, Desert Vista coach Michael Rabasca knows his team still has a lot of work to do.
"For a first game, there's a lot to improve," Rabasca said.
Desert Vista comes into the year with a very young roster that yields only four seniors. In contrast, Mountain Pointe's team is comprised of 11 seniors.
While young, the Thunder showed very few signs of inexperience on the pitch in defeating the older Pride team.
Neither coach felt its team was shaking off the rust or getting a feel for the game in the first match.
"I thought they had chances to score. I thought we had chances to score," Sabato said. "It came down to them finishing three of their chances and us not finishing any of ours."
Kemp is an Arizona State freshman interning this fall at the Ahwatukee Foothills News.