The girls soccer team from Tucson Catalina Foothills is wasting no time in preparing itself for a run at a fifth consecutive state championship. To be the best, you have to play the best.
About a day after winning six matches at a tournament in Tucson to begin the season, the Falcons jumped on Interstate 10 and headed to Phoenix for the Horizon Girls Soccer Tournament at the Reach 11 Complex.
The Horizon Tournament features some of the top teams in the Valley, including Division I defending champion Phoenix Xavier Prep and last year’s D-I No. 1 seed, Phoenix Pinnacle.
D-II defending champ Catalina Foothills battled Pinnacle to a scoreless tie on Tuesday night (Dec. 3) and will face Xavier on Wednesday (Dec. 4) at Phoenix Horizon High. Pinnacle defeated Xavier 1-0 in the first day of the tournament on Monday (Dec. 2).
“We played six games in seven days, and we held up pretty well against a high-level team like Pinnacle,’’ said Catalina Foothills coach Charlie Kendrick. “We showed some depth tonight, playing about 18 or 19 players. You need to give your players some experience.’’
Pinnacle began Tuesday’s match as the aggressor, then Catalina Foothills began to show its strength. Back and forth it went, the teams taking turns taking control.
“The thing is, with two good teams like this, you really can’t expect to control the ball the whole time,’’ Kendrick said. “There’s going to be ebb and flow.’’
Midfielders Gabriela Stoian and Kayla Fleming played well for Pinnacle, as did forward Jorian Baucom, trying to get into position to score or set up teammates.
There were, however, few shots on goal on either side early. There were a few more attempts later on as the players began to show a bit of fatigue.
Midfielder Alex Berman and all-purpose player Emily Parker kept things moving for Catalina Foothills.
Pinnacle coach Suzanne Kirchner was pleased with her team’s effort, particularly after the tough match against Xavier.
Kirchner is back at the helm of the Pioneers after coaching them from 2007-09 and then stepping away.
“Tonight our teams were equally matched. It was a great competitive match,’’ she said. “Considering it was only our second game, we did all right. We just have to try to maintain our focus.’’
Except for the Catalina Foothills-Xavier match on Wednesday, the rest of the teams will resume action on Thursday (Dec. 5) at Reach 11, at Deer Valley and Cave Creek roads.