SOCCER PLAYOFFS: Four local teams to semifinal round

Ironwood Ridge celebrates Kelly Koppy’s game-winning goal. Koppy is in the red band while Berkeley Larsen (2) rushes in. Alyssa Kopach is number 15. (Andy Morales/

No. 15 Sahuarita continues to shine in the 3A boys’ soccer playoffs. The Mustangs defeated No. 7 Veritas Prep 5-1 in the quarterfinal round Saturday afternoon to get to the semifinals scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 9 against No. 11 NFL Yet.

Senior Ghanen Lilly-Nolen pulled off a hat trick for Sahuarita. Carlos Lopez and Chris Guzman also scored.

In 4A girl’s action, No. 7 Catalina Foothills lost to No. 2 Thunderbird in the PK round while No. 3 Salpointe held on to defeat No. 5 Cactus Shadows 1-0 in the other quarterfinal match.

Sophomore midfielder Kalista Kakou scored the goal for the Lancers.

“It feels really good but this was a team effort,” Kakou said. “It was different playing in the heat of the day but we powered through it. We can always shoot more, that’s the goal.”

Salpointe will face No. 1 Flagstaff on Wednesday, Feb. 8 in the semifinal round.

No. 8 Catalina Foothills dropped a 4A boys quarterfinal match to top-seeded Coronado in Scottsdale (1-0) while No. 3 Salpointe beat No. 6 Washington 2-1 in overtime in a game played at Tucson High.

Sophomore Alfonso Cabrera scored off of a PK in the 35th minute to give Salpointe a 1-0 lead but Jose Castaneda headed in a pass from Swa Ha in the 73rd to send the match to overtime. Francisco Manzo found the net in the 98th minute to send the Lancers to the semifinal round.

Salpointe will face No. 2 Saguaro on Tuesday, Feb. 7 in the semifinal round.

In 5A play, No. 4 Ironwood Ridge beat No. 5 Campo Verde 2-1 to advance to the semifinals. Junior forward Berkeley Larsen gave the Nighthawks a 1-0 lead in the 45th minute off of an assist from Mariah Loya. Gabrielle Briseno tied things up on a PK in the 48th.

Kelly Koppy scored on a PK in the 78th for the 2-1 victory.

“It’s just amazing I was able to help us get back to the semifinals after our heartbreaking loss last year,” Koppy said. “This game was very physical and we knew they would come out and play us tough.”

The Nighthawks lost to Salpointe 1-0 in overtime in the Division II semifinals last year. Salpointe went on to finish runner-up to Notre Dame in the championship match.

Things don’t get any easier this year for the Nighthawks with No. 1 Chaparral waiting in the 5A semifinals on Friday, Feb. 10.

Saturday, Feb. 4

3A BOYS QUARTERFINALS at Red Mountain Park
No. 15 Sahuarita 5, No. 7 Veritas Prep 1

No. 4 Salpointe over No. 5 Cactus Shadows, 1-0
No, 7 Catalina Foothills lost to No. 2 Thunderbird, 3-2 (PK)

No. 3 Salpointe over No. 6 Washington, 2-1 (OT)
No. 8 Catalina Foothills lost to No. 1 Coronado, 1-0

No. 4 Ironwood Ridge over No. 5 Campo Verde, 2-1

Tuesday, Feb 7

4A BOYS SEMIFINALS at Williams Field
No. 3 Salpointe vs. No. 2 Saguaro, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, Feb. 8

4A GIRLS SEMIFINALS at Williams Field
No. 4 Salpointe vs. No. 1 Flagstaff, 5 p.m.

Thursday, Feb. 9

3A BOYS SEMIFINALS at Williams Field
No. 15 Sahuarita vs. No. 11 NFL Yet, 7 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 10

No. 4 Ironwood Ridge vs. No. 1 Chaparral, 5 p.m.


Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014 and has been a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. His own children have won multiple state high school championships and were named to all-state teams. Competing in hockey, basketball, baseball and track & field in high school, his unique perspective can only be found here and on Andy was named a Local Hero by the Tucson Weekly for 2016. Contact Andy Morales at


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