The Walden Grove girls soccer team lost a nail-biter to Salpointe in the 4A state semifinals Saturday in a match decided in a penalty kick shoot-out.
The teams were tied at 2-2 at the end of regulation and for two ensuing overtime periods before Walden Grove lost the penalty kick shoot-out to the Lancers, 4-2, ending its season.
“These ladies have come so far from the beginning of this season. They have worked hard; they have shown that relentless intensity… It’s hard,” Walden Grove head coach Troy Bosley said.
“We’re still regrouping from this loss because coming back from one down twice and to come back and go to PKs (penalty kicks) and lose the way we did is very hard, but we have a future, and we’re a top program, and it shows, so I’m excited going forward.”
Salpointe’s Maci Bernier scored the only first-half goal of the game in the 17th minute.
Bosley made some strategical changes at halftime that led to two second-half goals from senior midfielder Meredith Scott.
“We tried to use a little bit more speed,” he 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 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.”
Scott tied the game at 1-1 in the 57th minute before Salpointe regained the lead in the 61st minute on a goal from senior Paris Mikinski.
Scott scored a second goal in the 68th minute to knot the match at 2-2.
After the match, the exhausted and deflated Walden Grove coaches and players huddled together on the sidelines with parents and fans nearby. There were plenty of tears and well-wishes for the 10 departing seniors that accompanied consoling speeches from the coaches. But there was also a lot of hope for the program’s future.
“From day one, when we got out here, it was a family mentality,” Bosley said. “The seniors were bringing up the freshmen and taking them under their wing… With all the seniors and everything that they’ve brought the last four years, they really have shown our underclassmen what they need to do to compete and move forward and respect the process we talk about.”
For Scott, the real win is in the process itself, not necessarily the outcome.
“I think, honestly, hard work is what I’m taking away,” Scott said. “We’ve always been the underdog, so I’m super proud of everything that my team accomplished this season.”
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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.