MESA - Mountain Pointe girls soccer coach Mark Wilson wanted to practice different formations to find what suits his team best as well as win.
Both came true Friday night in a Class 5A Division I East Valley Region match as the Pride defeated host Mesa Desert Ridge 2-0.
"I was working the formations. I never got them into a gear," Wilson said. "My theory is I'm not going to come out and destroy somebody. I want them always thinking. We went from a 4-5-1 to a 4-3-3 to a 3-5-2 to a 4-4-2. Just shaking things up."
The Pride controlled the first half with junior forward Kiley Kipper scoring early in the 10th minute to put the Pride up 1-0.
For much of the first half the ball was in Desert Ridge's side of the field, giving Mountain Pointe many scoring opportunities.
The second of those chances came through when sophomore Cera Hassinan scored on a long-range goal in the 31st minute.
Pride goalkeeper Victoria Heppler played a perfect game and made the first-half lead hold up.
"We just went out there and tried our hardest," Heppler said. "My defense really helped me clear the ball out and everyone up top helped score and get the points."
Heppler had her hands full in the second half as Desert Ridge garnered scoring chances. Playing like a different team, the Jaguars came out in the second half and played the Pride to a no score draw.
"We went into halftime and made some adjustments," said Desert Ridge coach Robert LaPlante. "We came out and played great in the second half. Started getting some offsides calls we needed."
Mountain Pointe's offense is one that Desert Ridge has not seen this year, which coach LaPlante indicated played part in the slow start for the Jaguars.
"They've got a direct offense where they're just trying to kick the ball over the top of us and it was successful a couple of times," LaPlante said.
The second half went back and forth with both teams having multiple shots on goal. The Jaguars were able to keep the ball in the Mountain Pointe side but were never able to finish off a scoring opportunity.
"We go for knee instead of a head or head instead of a knee and maybe we are looking at 2-2 and we're playing in overtime right now," LaPlante said.
Finishing was the key difference in the game.
The Pride were able to make the most of their opportunities, while the Jaguars were not. There was nothing fancy or special as to how the Pride scored goals.
"Just working hard and finishing," Wilson said.
Kemp is an Arizona State freshman studying journalism.