Peoria High girls soccer players were cold but happy on Friday night (Dec. 6) after rallying to defeat Casa Grande Vista Grande 2-1 in the 15th annual Pride in Paradise Invitational Tournament at Phoenix Paradise Valley High.
Peoria (3-1) now has more wins – three in this tournament – than it did all of last season, when it finished 2-15.
“It’s about not giving up,’’ said Peoria coach Heather Morrison.
Vista Grande (1-3) grabbed the early lead with 35:52 left in the first half on a goal by Cynterri Roberts.
Vista Grande got close on a few other occasions but could not find the back of the net again.
Peoria, meanwhile, kept the pressure on and finally pulled even with 8:02 left in the first half when Rachel Manke scored when the ball bounced her way after deflecting off the hands of the Vista Grande goalkeeper.
As the second half wore on, the teams tried to take the lead.
Peoria thought it had moved in front with a goal off an indirect kick, but the referee waved it off because it did not touch another player first.
The Panthers came back to score for real with 5:02 left in the game on a goal by Valerie Garcia.
“We really support each other,’’ Morrison said. “That is what it is going to take to be successful.’’
The Panthers need to continue to tighten up defensively, Morrison said.
Morrison said she and her players are excited about the team’s first home match of the season, on Tuesday night (Dec. 10) against Peoria Sunrise Mountain.