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GILBERT – Despite a commanding presence on offense, with a 16 to 6 shot advantage over FC Arizona, the FC Tucson Women were only able to knit the threads twice in a 2-2 tie with the Phoenix area program in the match played at Campo Verde High School on Saturday night.
FC Tucson remains on top of the Desert Conference of the Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL) with a 3-0-1 record. FC Arizona improved to 2-2-1 but were unable to gain any ground on the team from Tucson in the point standings or in head-to-head competition.
FC Tucson beat FC Arizona 2-0 on June 9 to hold that advantage and the team stands at 10 points while FC Arizona is in third place with 7. Atomic City FC out of Las Vegas moved to 3-1 on the year after that expansion program slashed fellow league expansion partner El Paso Surf 5-0 at home on Saturday night. El Paso is in second place with 9 points and the team will visit Tucson on Friday, June 25 in an attempt to catch or pass the Women in Black.
FC Tucson beat Atomic City FC 5-1 on June 13 at Las Vegas to solidify their lead on the conference. A victory or draw over Las Vegas at home on Friday night would put the team in the driver’s seat with three matches remaining on the schedule down the stretch. The WPSL will not host a championship tournament this year but will instead crown each of the conference regular season champions.
— Andy Morales (@AndyMorales8) June 20, 2021
In the tie, Jaden Bailey (University of Arizona) got things going for FC Tucson with a flip throw-in that found a grouping on the line and her offering was headed twice off the bar before Trinity Morales (Salpointe) found an opening for the 1-0 lead in the 9th minute. Hannah Scafaria (Toledo) evened the match up in the 13th minute and that tie lasted until Bella Santavicca (Ironwood Ridge/St. Mary’s College) broke free down the right side in the 57th.
The 2-1 margin stood until Alexandra Shepard (Chaffey College) connected on a direct kick in the 66th minute. FC Tucson poured on the offense once again but the team was unable to finish with FC Arizona playing for the draw down the stretch.
The match was physical from the early stages on but things became more intense after an FC Tucson forward was tossed to the grass in the remaining moments but the ball was awarded to FC Arizona for a throw in instead of awarding a penalty.
— Andy Morales (@AndyMorales8) June 20, 2021
“We felt the match was unevenly called but I really can’t blame the officials for the tie because we were unable to finish,” head coach Kelly Pierce said. “We failed too many times in the final third in the beginning and at the end and my players know that. We can’t let those kind of opportunities go but I’m proud of how they battled with everything that went on out there.”
FC Arizona travels to play El Paso on Sunday, June 26 in an attempt to gain 3 points from the match. The team from Phoenix beat El Paso 4-0 to start their season but the program will only have two matches left with one being a return match with Las Vegas which handed FC Arizona 2-1 loss on June 5. TICKET INFO
FC Arizona keeper Kayla King (Grand Canyon) picked up 6 saves in the match though she was tested twice that amount in the match. All Pac-12 keeper Hope Hisey (CDO/Arizona) had three official saves in the match.
FC Tucson standout Brianna Barreiro (UTEP) will miss the rest of the season with a torn hamstring and her loss left a void in the middle but she is now assisting the team in a coaching capacity. Her younger brother Nick was an All-WAC defender for GCU.
A routine physical at GCU before his senior season in 2020 revealed a lump and the school sent Nick in for more tests. The Mayo Clinic conducted several lengthy tests and Nick was diagnosed with Stage 3 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and he began chemotherapy treatment there almost immediately.
Nick is one of eight children and his mother moved from El Paso to Phoenix to be with him during the difficult time that, unfortunately, continues today. The NCAA approved a “Gofundme” page for Nick and the community helped his family reach that initial goal.
According to Bri, the stem cell treatment he received in March did not take and new scans show continued concern. Nick will begin a new round of treatments in August. It is uncertain if a new donation page will be set up to help his family through another difficult period but prayers and support are always welcomed and appreciated.
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Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014, he was awarded the Ray McNally Award in 2017, a 2019 AZ Education News award winner and he has been a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. He was the first in Arizona to write about high school beach volleyball and high school girls wrestling. 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. Andy was named an Honorary Flowing Wells Caballero in 2019 and he is a member of the Amphi COVID-19 Blue Ribbon Committee. Contact Andy Morales at firstname.lastname@example.org