‘All in’ has been the philosophy for Desert Vista’s girls soccer team this season. They believe in giving a 100 percent effort to the game and their teammates in order to achieve the desired results.
“All in mentally, all in physically, all in emotionally, all in spiritually,” said coach Marvin Hypolite. “We are all in and coming together for the task at hand.”
The ‘all in’ approach created a united culture at Desert Vista. They leaned on each other in critical moments because they know each one of them is pouring their hearts on every play.
“It’s just our team chemistry. We just play together. We are like a family on-and-off the field and I think that’s what brought us so much success this season,” says goalkeeper Cammi Bych
Trying to win every play created a sense of urgency for the team. They keep stacking the small victories, like being first to loose-balls, until it culminates into an 80-minute victory.
All those small victories turned into 13 wins for Desert Vista, more than enough to send them to the playoffs once again.
After allowing the only goal with 8 minutes to spare in last year’s semifinals game to Perry high school, Hypolite had this message entering the playoffs this year.
“Don’t lose your last game,” said centerback Audra Sumetz.
With only three losses on the season, losing is something Desert Vista is not too familiar with. A big reason for their success is the phenomenal play of senior forward Cassi Bych, sister of goalkeeper Cammi.
Cassi finished tied for third in the 6A with 19 goals scored. Coach Marvin Hypolite couldn’t stop gushing at the growth he’s seen in his star senior.
Watching her grow from a freshman into the dominant talent Bych is now, makes him marvel in knowing she has put in the work repeatedly to get to the place she is now.
“She has 19 goals, that's amazing. That’s truly amazing,” Hypolite said. “She has been so consistent since freshman year to now as a senior. Scoring goals is a big trait we have because of her.”
With Cassi Bych manning the offense, Hypolite looks to Sumetz to be the captain of the defense.
He credits her vocal leadership for turning Desert Vista into a well-balanced team offensively and defensively.
Sumetz recognizes how important it is for everyone to speak to each other when you want to win on the highest level.
“I think communication is a big key to our success. With everyone communicating it creates more of an open environment,” Sumetz said.
From the scoring of Cassi Bych to the vocal leadership of Sumetz, Desert Vista had all the ingredients to a championship team.
Their hard work paid off into the opportunity to redeem themselves for last year’s playoff loss with another shot at reaching the championship game. Only thing standing in their way was a match between the (20-1-3) Chaparral Firebirds.
Heading into the game, Hypolite preached to the players to do what they have been doing all season. He wanted them to maintain their composure and not play out of character.
“Just focus on the things we are trained to do. And execute on all aspects of the field,” Hypolite said.
The game was tightly contested. Both teams tirelessly ran up-and-down the field, knowing how close they are to the championship.
The score wouldn’t budge. Both teams playing to a dead-even 0-0 draw. With under a minute left, Firebird forward Chloe Steinhilber was able to break free and score the go-ahead goal - leaving only 10 seconds left on the clock.
Desert Vista desperately tried to score with what little time remaining, but it was too late. The Thunder may not have gotten the result they wanted, but it was still a great season overall for the girls.
Toughest thing about a loss like that is knowing players like the Bych twins and Sumetz will not be there next season to run-it-back.
With their high school careers coming to an end, Hypolite had one departing message for the seniors on his team.
“Thank you for 4 years of an exciting time. Thank you for your sacrifice,” Hypolite said. “And thank you for going ‘All in.’”
The Desert Vista boys soccer had some soul-searching to do following a blowout loss to Hamilton on Jan. 21. The Thunder then went on to win four straight before falling to Corona del Sol in the final game of the regular season. Desert Vista entered the tournament as the No. 10 seed, and advanced to the state quarterfinals to face second-ranked Chaparral.
Desert Vista forced the game to penalty kicks, where the Firebirds eventually emerged victorious. The Thunder boys finished 11-9 overall on the season but finished strong after a tough loss that left them searching for answers.
Desert Vista’s wrestling program has long been one of the top programs in the state, placing among the top-four in the state twice in the last three years leading up to the 2019-20 season. The Thunder qualified 12 wrestlers to compete in the state meet in Prescott Valley last month. There, Logan Smith (106), Alfonso Martinez (145) and Preston Cameau (170) all won state titles in their respective weight classes.
It was the second straight title for both Martinez and Cameau. The title win was Smith’s first. Two additional Desert Vista wrestlers medaled at state, helping the Thunder finish fourth overall in Division I.
Two years after finishing 9-17 and missing the playoffs, Desert Vista’s girls basketball team won three straight games to enter the 6A Conference tournament as the No. 14 seed with a 17-9 overall record. Led by sophomores Jaida Brooks and Hannah Robbins, the Thunder traveled to face defending champion Hamilton in the first round of the tournament.
Desert Vista kept the game close, but the Huskies managed to pull away and end the Thunder’s season. With just five seniors on the roster, including all-around leader Sydney Clark, the future remains bright for Desert Vista’s girls basketball.