FC Tucson Women move to 2-0 with a 1-0 win over El Paso Surf at home

It was a battle in the second half but the FC Tucson Women defense came through. (Andy Morales/AllSportsTucson)


Some victories appear to be more difficult than others but a win is a win on the big stage and FC Tucson Women moved to 2-0 on the year after a full team effort held off El Paso Surf 1-0 Friday night at the Kino North Stadium.

Naija Buckner took a header from Ashly Martinez in the 37th minute and she dribbled through two defenders, with Kailey Peña providing a screen, and she hit the upper-left corner for the goal. That goal stood up despite a frantic display of offense in the second half that stretched the FC Tucson Women defense to the edge with All-American keeper Hope Hisey picking up a couple of big saves.

“We were in a little bit of a survival mode and it was not pretty, but you know, we lost a few players to injuries this week with concussions and all kinds of stuff, but the girls were battled and did well,” head coach Kelly Pierce explained.

This is the second week in a row where one of the younger players came through with a game-winning goal with Martinez providing the lone goal at El Paso to open up the season last weekend.

“Naija came out and she was super nervous and I told her she was starting, her eyes looked at me and she has set the tone,” Pierce added. “She was super calm and composed on the ball and she was obviously hungry on that goal.”

El Paso fell to 0-2 on the year and the Surf will travel to play Arizona Arsenal Soccer Club (0-0) of Mesa at 7 p.m. Saturday night at the Bell Bank Park and SC del Sol (0-0) of Phoenix is hosting Atomic City FC (0-0) of Las Vegas at the Reach 11 Complex in Phoenix at 7 p.m.

The victory gives FC Tucson Women 6 points on the year with a trip to Las Vegas planned for Saturday, June 11 at 7:30 p.m. The Women in Black won the Desert Conference last summer with a 7-0-1 record with two wins over Las Vegas. Atomic City FC finished 4-4 last year.

The team is 14-0-1 dating back to 2019 and it appears defense will continue to be the key for Pierce the rest of the way.

“We definitely have work to do, but I’m proud of them for battling through and sticking through and continuing to fight even as gassed and fatigued as they were,” Pierce added.


Named one of “Arizona’s Heart & Sol” by KOLD and Casino del Sol, Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014, he was awarded the Ray McNally Award in 2017 and a 2019 AZ Education News recognition. He was 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 and his unique perspective can only be found here and on AZPreps365.com. Andy is a 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, became a member of the Sunnyside Los Mezquites Cross Country Hall of Fame in 2021 and he was a member of the Amphi COVID-19 Blue Ribbon Committee. He earned a Distinguished Service Award from Amphitheater and he was recognized by City Councilman Richard Fimbres. Contact Andy Morales at amoralesmytucson@yahoo.com

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