This Friday and Saturday, Campo Verde High School in the southeastern Phoenix suburb of Gilbert will be the site of fast-paced and exciting action in the 2015 Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) Boys and Girls State Championship Soccer Finals.
The tournament kicks off at 5:00 p.m. Friday with the girls Division III finals between 19-2 Fountain Hills and 24-1 Walden Grove.
Then, the boys Division III championship match between 14-3-1 Scottsdale Coronado and 17-0-1 Yuma Catholic will take place at 7:30 p.m.
After a 12½-hour break, action resumes at 10:00 a.m. Saturday when 17-5-2 Campo Verde and 15-0-6 Notre Dame Prep clash for the girls Division II state title.
At 12:30 p.m., the boys Division II state champion will be determined when the winner between Mountain View Marana and Queen Creek plays the winner between San Luis and Glendale.
The state’s biggest schools then take the stage, beginning with the girls Division I title game at 4:00 p.m. between 23-2-1 Highland and 18-3-1 Desert Vista.
The Division I boys will then wrap up the state tournament as the winner between Sandra Day O’Connor and Hamilton will tangle with the winner between Chandler and Brophy Prep at 6:30 p.m.
In Division III girls, defending state champion and No. 3 seed Fountain Hills earned a return trip to the finals with a 2-0 victory over second-seeded Northwest Christian in their February 10 semifinal match-up. The Falcons were paced offensively by a goal each from 5-foot-7 junior forward Leah Carillo and 5-foot-7 sophomore defender Courtney Dunham.
On the other side of the bracket that same day, top-seeded Walden Grove topped Rio Rico by that same 2-0 score to earn the school’s first-ever appearance in an AIA state championship event. Youth was definitely served as freshmen Haven Chambers and Mariah Vasquez scored a goal each for the winners.
In Division III boys, sixth-ranked Scottsdale Coronado advanced to the championship game with a 5-1 semifinal victory over second-ranked Tucson Amphitheater. Led by senior co-captain Christian Gaxiola’s two goals, the victorious Dons jumped to a 4-0 halftime lead over the Panthers. The loss snapped Ampitheater’s 11-game winning streak.
In the other semifinal, top-ranked Yuma Catholic blanked No. 4 Cortez, 3-0, at Phoenix Williams Field High School. Alexis Rodriguez, Fernando Ramirez and Omar Rojas scored a goal apiece for Yuma Catholic. With the victory, the Shamrocks return to the state championship game for the first time since 2007. Revenge will be on their minds as they will face a Coronado team that defeated them in last year’s semifinals. A veteran team, Yuma Catholic returns nine starters from last year.
Campo Verde punched its ticket to the girls Division II finals with 3-1 shootout victory over defending champion and No. 2 seed Verrado. Goalkeeper Amanda Canzona had two saves to pace Campo Verde. Notre Dame Prep defeated Catalina Foothills, 4-3, in a shootout to advance to the girls Division II title game. During the regular season, Notre Dame Prep blanked Campo Verde, 2-0.
Highland advanced to the girls Division I finals with a 1-0 overtime decision over No. 1 seed Desert Mountain. Senior Bri Hatch scored the game-winning goal for Highland with five minutes elapsed in overtime.
Meanwhile, Desert Vista scored a goal in each half to secure a 2-0 victory over Chandler in the other large-school semifinal matchup. During the regular season, Highland and Desert Vista split two matches.