The no. 7-ranked Salpointe Catholic girls soccer team narrowly defeated no. 6-ranked Walden Grove in a penalty shoot-out in the 4A state semifinals to advance to the state championship game.
Tied at 2-2 at the end of regulation and two overtime periods, the Lancers eventually won the penalty kick shoot-out 4-2, ending the Red Wolves’ season in a heartbreaking fashion.
“I hate going down to penalty kicks,” Salpointe head coach Kelly Pierce said.” You never know what’s gonna happen, obviously. So the girls really worked on it, and they got in there and capitalized right away, so this was good.”
Down 1-0 at halftime, Walden Grove’s head coach Troy Bosley made some strategical changes that led to two second half goals from senior midfielder Meredith Scott.
“We tried to use a little bit more speed, Bosley said. “We took Baylie (Baylie Tracy) out of the outside back to move her up to the winger to get more opportunities and run off of Scott (Meredith Scott) because Salpointe did a good job of staying disciplined, staying in shape and getting back behind the ball. It worked out, and I think we opened up a lot more.
“Bailey is really dangerous out on the wing and Scott was able to hold people off and find another target, and for her to get two goals like that when we were down is just huge.”
Scott tied the game at 1-1 in the 57th minute before Salpointe quickly regained the lead in the 61st minute off a goal from senior Paris Mikinski.
Scott scored her second goal in the 68th minute to knot the match up at 2-2.
Salpointe controlled the ball and was on the attack for most of the first half, but the Lancers could only capitalize once against Walden Grove’s defense when senior Maci Bernier scored the only first-half goal in the 17th minute.
“We were just trying to go forward, high press,” Bernier said. “We just wanted to set the tone early, and we wanted to come out fast, and we did it great.”
In a match that came down to the wire, Pierce knows the pain Walden Grove is feeling right now.
“We’ve actually been on the other side of it in the semifinals three years ago. We lost in PK (penalty kicks). So, been there, didn’t want to have that repeat.”
The Lancers have won state titles in four of the previous five seasons, including last season.
Salpointe plays in the 4A state championship game against Notre Dame Prep on Feb. 22 at 4:45 p.m. at Williams Field High School in Gilbert.
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com writing intern Kevin Murphy was born and raised in Tucson, and has followed Arizona Wildcats athletics since childhood. Murphy is a journalist product manager with the Green Valley News & the Sahuarita Sun. He is currently attending the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at ASU where he is working towards a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication and Media Studies.