Four local soccer teams alive in chase for championship

2014-02-10T00:00:00Z Four local soccer teams alive in chase for championshipBy Daniel Gaona Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Four local soccer teams won Saturday to advance to this week’s state semifinals, and two of those teams will face off for the sixth time in the last two seasons Thursday night.

The top-seeded Catalina Foothills girls team is trying to reach the state championship match for the fifth straight year. But standing in the way is No. 5 Sahuaro, the only team from Southern Arizona to beat the Falcons over the last two seasons.

In addition to that big playoff matchup this week, there are also section tournaments for basketball to watch and — possibly — the state championship meet for wrestling.

Here’s a look at the busy week ahead:

TUESDAY

Boys soccer: After knocking off top-seeded Palo Verde in penalty kicks on Saturday, Amphitheater got some even better news: It won’t have to go against two-time defending state champion Phoenix Cortez. Instead, the No. 9-seeded Panthers will be the favorite when they take on No. 13 Phoenix North Christian at Phoenix Arcadia on Tuesday night, with a trip to Friday’s Division III state finals on the line.

WEDNESDAY

Boys soccer: After undefeated Tucson High advanced to the Division II state semifinals with a 2-1 win over Nogales on Saturday, the Badgers expected to be playing top-seeded Catalina Foothills next. Instead, they’ll be playing No. 9 Yuma Kofa, which scored twice in overtime to eliminate Foothills.

Tucson (22-0-3) will go for its ninth straight win when it takes on the Kings on Wednesday at Paradise Valley. A victory would advance the Badgers — who have never played in the state championship — to Saturday’s title match.

THURSDAY

Girls soccer: Foothills and Sahuaro meet Thursday night for the third time this year with the Falcons (21-1-2) having won the last two by a combined score of 6-3. This time, however, the winner moves on to the Division II state final.

Foothills hosted the last match Jan. 9 and won 4-2 behind a pair of goals from Aleah Strength. Senior forward Jasmine Simmons scored both goals for Sahuaro, which beat the Falcons 1-0 in their third meeting of last season to earn the No. 1 seed for the state tournament.

For now, the match is scheduled to be played at Phoenix Paradise Valley, but could be moved down to Tucson this week. The winner will advance to Saturday’s state title match.

THURSDAY-SATURDAY

Wrestling: When the Arizona Interscholastic Association postponed the state-qualifying section tournaments scheduled for this weekend because of a “wide-spread skin infection,” there was no word on if that would affect the three-day state championship meet scheduled to begin Thursday at Tim’s Toyota Center in Prescott Valley.

There was also no word on when those section meets would be held, but the AIA should have a decision on that sometime today. If they are held this week, perhaps Tuesday, everything will likely go on as planned this weekend.

Contact high school sports coordinator Daniel Gaona at 807-7761 or dgaona@azstarnet.com. On Twitter @DanielGaona13

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