FC Tucson Women beat FC Arizona 1-0 Friday night at the Kino North Stadium to improve to 3-1-2 on the year. The victory puts the team one point ahead of Albuquerque (3-1-1) and Phoenix del Sol (3-1-1) in the race for the Desert Division title of the Pac South Conference of the Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL). FC Arizona (0-5-1) is in last place, three points behind Players SC (1-2-1).
FC Tucson split the regular season with Albuquerque and the team can avenge a draw against Players SC (Las Vegas) on Saturday, June 29 and another draw against Phoenix del Sol at home on July 2.
The program has 22 players rostered which has been a blessing and a bit of a curse for first-year head coach Kelly Pierce.
“I don’t think we’ve had the same 11 starters for any of our games,” Pierce said. “They are highly skilled and talented so they know what they’re doing but we haven’t been able to practice together and have that carry over to our games.”
Pierce, along with her assistants, Sou Torres, Katie Coleman and Charlie MacCabe, has been able to put the pieces together to form a unit that has superior spacing, passing and control but dominating possessions has not led to many goals and that was the case Friday night.
FC Tucson was held off time after time until Lauren Crenshaw found the net in the 31st minute but the team was unable to add another goal despite hitting the post and getting to the last man on several possessions.
“They know they are taking extra touches they don’t need,” Pierce added. “It’s just a matter of working together and having confidence.”
Crenshaw got her start winning a state championship as a freshman for Gilbert Campo Verde before finishing her high school career in Minnesota. A standout at UTEP, Crenshaw helped FC Tucson win the Pac South Conference championship last year.
Local high school athletes who have seen some action this year according to the WPSL includes Emily Masursky (Rincon/UHS), Bella Santavicca (Ironwood Ridge), Jordan Davidson (Mountain View/Vanguard), Brianna Lewis (Tucson/Pima), Tatianna Lizarraga (Catalina Foothills), Hannah Leitner (Rincon/UHS), Maury Urcadez (Tucson/Pima), Alexandria Skidmore (Catalina Foothills/Louisiana, Monroe), Paloma Teran (Salpointe/Metro State), Malia Vanisi (Walden Grove/New Mexico), Nevaeh Rascon (Mountain View), Aryanna Sanchez (Salpointe), Haley Harris (Cienega), Maci Bernier (Salpointe), Claudia Roller (Sahuaro), Karina Camacho (Cienega/Long Beach) and Kelsey Montano (Tucson/Pima).
University of Arizona standouts include Jaden Bailey (Gilbert Highland), Laura Pimienta (Mountain View), Mykaylin Rosenquist (Gilbert Corona del Sol), Brandi Park (Sabino), Hope Hisey (Canyon del Oro), Gabriela Stoian (Scottsdale Pinnacle).
Pierce won two state championships (1998 and 1999) playing for Salpointe and she coached the Lancers to back-to-back titles in 2018 and 2019. Along the way, Pierce also played for the Sonoran Thunder before starting a family of her own. Pierce came back to the WPSL to play for TSA-FC under former head coach Amy Garelick where she earned All-WPSL honors as a defender in 2014. Pierce was also named to the All-West Team and was named a Pacific South All-Star. Garelick coached for six years and left the program with a 31-20-10 record, earning Coach of the Year honors twice in her successful career.
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 is the Southern Arizona voting member of the Ed Doherty Award, recognizing the top football player in Arizona, and he was named a Local Hero by the Tucson Weekly for 2016. Contact Andy Morales at firstname.lastname@example.org