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SOCCER: Salpointe girls claim 4A championship again

(NFHS)

No. 2 Salpointe dominated possession early and often to defeat the top-seeded Flagstaff Eagles 3-0 at the 4A state championship match played Saturday afternoon at Williams Field High School. The Lancers defended their 4A state title from last year, giving the program six state championships.

Kalista Kakou put the Lancers up 1-0 in the 5th minute, Sydney Lenhart found Bella Almazan in the 53rd and Kakou converted on a penalty kick late for the clincher.

The victory pushed the Salpointe season record to 21-1-1 and caps three straight appearances in the state finals with more expected from this talent-loaded roster. Flagstaff fell to 16-3-1 on the year.

“It’s bittersweet knowing that this was my last high school game but it’s great knowing that we were able to be back to back state champions,” Almazan said. “I’m so proud of everyone on the team. We’ve worked so hard this season to get to this game and we came out today and played our game. We couldn’t have done it without everyone on the team and our great coaching staff.”

“This means a lot to me, means a lot to all of us coaches,” head coach Kelly Pierce said. “We have worked really hard with these girls all season, growing, building and improving as a team. We gave the tools and guidance and they applied them all season and especially today. It’s a very rewarding feeling seeing all of them so happy, laughing and smiling knowing they earned this with their play and work ethic. To see them with such pure joy makes me very happy and proud. knowing we were able to check off our ‘ultimate goal’ is huge! I am beyond thrilled for them.”

Pierce collected two state championships as a defender for the Lancers in 1998 and 1999. The six championships have come from six different coaches. Catalina Foothills holds the Southern Arizona record with eight state titles.

“This will be a day I’ll never forget, and a day I know these girls will never forget,” Pierce added. “They played a good team today and they remained focused and driven the entire game. They played for each other and  for their school, with pride, class and heart! I can’t say enough how proud I am of them and all they have achieved this season! It’s a good day to be a Lancer! ”

SATURDAY, FEB. 10
4A GIRLS CHAMPIONSHIP at Williams Field
No. 2 Salpointe 3 No. 1 Flagstaff 0

(NFHS)

GIRLS CHAMPIONSHIP TEAMS

Catalina Foothills (8)
2003: 4A (Christie Monroe)
2005: 4A (Charlie Kendrick)
2006: 4A-I (Charlie Kendrick)
2007: 4A-I (Charlie Kendrick)
2010: 4A-I (Charlie Kendrick)
2011: 4A-I (Charlie Kendrick)
2012: D-II (Charlie Kendrick)
2013: D-II (Charlie Kendrick)

Salpointe (6)
1990: 5A (Matt Panitinto)
1992: 5A (Julian Friend)
1998: 5A (Jill McCartney)
1999: 5A (Alisha Kientzler)
2017: 4A (Becky Freeman)
2018: 4A (Kelly Pierce)

Flowing Wells (2)
2007: 5A-II (Chris Nogami)
2009: 4A-I (Sean Ochoa)

Sabino (2)
1996: 4A (Alisha Kientzler)
2008: 4A-I (Brenda Lowery)

Canyon del Oro (1)
1997: 5A (Albert Durazo)

Mountain View (1)
1995: 4A (Cynthia Saldamando)

Rincon/UHS (1)
2008: 5A-II (Ian Kidd)

Walden Grove (1)
2015: D-III (Carey Bauer)

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Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014 and he was awarded the Ray McNally Award in 2017 and he 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 AZPreps365.com. Andy was named a Local Hero by the Tucson Weekly for 2016. Contact Andy Morales at AMoralesMyTucson@yahoo.com

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