FC Tucson Women over Arizona Arsenal 2-0

FC Tucson Keeper Maddy Smith. (Andy Morales/AllSportsTucson)

The FC Tucson Women improved to 2-0-1 on the year after the Women in Blue defeated the Arizona Arsenal Soccer Club 2-0 Wednesday night at the Kino North Stadium. The team from the greater Phoenix area fell to 1-2 and FC Tucson took a 5-2 lead over Arsenal in the battle for the “Golden Sahuaro Trophy” played out between the two parent organizations at all levels of play with five meetings left this summer.

Krystal Kutscher (Northridge) drew a foul just outside the box in the 34th minute and her twin sister, Kourtney Kutscher (Northridge), passed off the penalty to Laura Pimienta (Mountain View/Arizona), who sprinted to her right unguarded, and Pimienta found the opposite corner to put Tucson up 1-0.

Unofficially, Tucson came away with 15 shots on the night compared to eight for Arsenal and the pressure on the net resulted in another goal in the 45th minute with Jaden Bailey (Highland/Arizona) crossing to Sydney Lenhart (Salpointe/Brandeis), who beat her defender to the ball after Bailey drew two defenders to her on the play.

Maddie Smith (Salpointe/Northern Colorado) came away with five saves on the night and she combined with Sabino senior Brooke Valencia on the clean sheet.

Besides Valencia, the match featured the return of midfielder Kate Connelly. The Salpointe graduate was finishing up another season with Seattle and her presence on the pitch represented another lineup change that has become part of the culture of the highly successful FC Tucson Women program either by necessity or design.

FC Tucson head coach Kelly Pierce. (Andy Morales/AllSportsTucson)

“It’s the struggle of the season, always having new players coming and going,” head coach Kelly Pierce explained on her lineup changes. “But having the older players and the vets here I think is a huge asset. Every game I think we’ve had new positions, and probably will always have that, but they’re mature and I’m impressed by their response.”

A couple of those veterans come in another set of twins in Priscilla and Laura Pimienta. The sisters played together at Mountain View and the University of Arizona and they were part of the first FC Tucson WPSL team in 2013. Laura was named “Player of the Match” for her efforts.

The victory keeps Tucson one point up on SC del Sol (2-0) in the conference race (7 to 6) and the team from Phoenix will visit Kino North Stadium this Friday night.

Tucson led SC del Sol 2-0 heading into the 89th minute last year but a defensive lapse allowed two goals and the match resulted in a draw, which ultimately cost Tucson another Desert Conference championship.

“This week has been really difficult, a really quick turnaround for us,” Pierce added. “Tonight was a battle, the match with the Royals was a battle and we are having another one on Friday. We are really excited and it’s always a bloodbath and a lot of fun.”


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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