The girls from Scottsdale Chaparral needed to find a way to gain the upper hand in their opening match of the Arizona Soccer Showcase on Friday (Dec. 27) at the Reach 11 Complex in north Phoenix.
After a scoreless first half against Mesa Red Mountain, the Lady Firebirds struggled a bit to start the second half as Red Mountain played ball control.
The tide began to turn and Chaparral found itself getting more touches and spreading the field, according to the instructions of coach Robyn Carlson.
Senior midfielder Olivia Struckman scored a goal with about 17 minutes left and Chaparral held on for a 1-0 victory.
Both teams had a second match later in the day, Chaparral against Rosary (Calif.) and Red Mountain against Tucson Sahuaro. The tournament continues on Saturday (Dec. 28) and Monday (Dec. 30) and wraps up with championship action on Tuesday (Dec. 31).
“They (Red Mountain) are a very good team, and we felt that we needed to open up the field a little bit,’’ Carlson said.
“Our goal today, as it is in most games, is to work the ball, play one or two touches and try to get a good shot. The girls did a great job with that today, especially in the second half.’’
Both goalkeepers did a good job of turning away shots, and Red Mountain got help from the crossbar, as a shot by Struckman clanked off it.
In the second half, Chaparral had a beautiful cross, but it did not lead to an early goal. Red Mountain’s Linae Harada had the ball virtually alone in front of the goal but could not make good on her chance.
Carlson said it was good for her team to begin the tournament with a win, and hoped it would create some momentum in the coming days and weeks.