Desert Vista girls soccer coach Marvin Hypolite could hardly contain his excitement as he watched a header by senior Cassi Bych bounce into the net.
The goal was Bych’s 19th on the season, and it came at a pivotal moment in fourth-ranked Desert Vista’s 6A quarterfinals match against No. 5 Pinnacle on Tuesday night. It ultimately turned into the game winner, as the Thunder went on to defeat the Pioneers 3-2 to advance to the 6A girls semifinals on Saturday.
“That was a great game, man,” Hypolite said. “It has everything. Suspense, up and down momentum, everything. The girls responded well.”
A throw in by junior forward Emma Green set up Bych for the game-winning goal in the 76th minute. It came after a score by senior middle fielder Emily Maldonado less than 5 minutes prior to tie the game after Desert Vista conceded two straight to Pinnacle sophomore forward Kate Faasse.
But despite the two conceded goals in the second half, the Thunder battled overcame adversity. Something Hypolite highlighted following the wild ending.
“I told them they’re a resilient team, a resilient bunch,” Hypolite said. “They just never quit. I see it every day in the training ground. The girls come out and play for each other, which I really, really like.
“Conceding two goals after having the lead can take the air out of you, but they kept playing and turned it up a notch.”
Desert Vista dominated time of possession in the first half, continuously putting pressure on Pinnacle’s back line. The Thunder managed several shots on goal before senior Willow Brown found the back of the net in the 12th minute of play.
The Thunder’s strong defensive effort limited Pinnacle’s talented group of forwards any chances of capitalizing in the first half. Desert Vista took a one-goal lead into the half.
But Pinnacle quickly found a rhythm in the second.
Faasse’s first goal of the match came in the 49th minute of play, as her shot bounced off Desert Vista goalkeeper Cammi Bych and into the corner of the net. In the 65th minute, Faasse again capitalized after getting behind Desert Vista’s back line.
The Thunder once again pushed up field with a sense of urgency and tied the match after Maldonado sailed the ball over the outstretched hands of Pinnacle goalkeeper Rachael Black. As the match neared its end, Green found Bych on the throw in to give Desert Vista the lead and win.
“We’ve been trying to capitalize on Emma Green’s throw forever,” Cassi Bych said. “It just happened to work out at the right time today. It’s awesome.”
With the win, the Desert Vista girls soccer program will make its second straight appearance in the 6A semifinals. The Thunder will face top-ranked Chaparral on Saturday at Campo Verde at 1 p.m.
Desert Vista fell to Perry in last year’s semifinal match. But Bych believes this year’s heads into the semifinals with a new mindset.
“We aren’t going to give up,” Bych said. “We are going to take on anybody and go to the finals. I believe this team can make it.”