Wednesday night’s (Jan. 29) girls soccer match between Phoenix Pinnacle and host Scottsdale Chaparral could very well become a season-changing experience for both teams.
Chaparral needed a victory after losing at Gilbert Perry earlier in the week and dropping to No. 8 in power points. The Firebirds got what they wanted, recording a 1-0 victory over No. 1 Pinnacle.
The Firebirds (10-5-3) have regained some confidence and perhaps will jump a few spots in the ratings before the state tournament brackets are released by the Arizona Interscholastic Association on Friday (Jan. 31) at 2 p.m.
Meanwhile, Pinnacle coach Suzanne Kirchner said the challenge from Chaparral “might be something we have needed. I know our girls are not happy right now and this could set them straight that they are not invincible.’’
Pinnacle (15-3-3) wraps up its regular season on Thursday night (Jan. 30) with a home match against No. 11 Gilbert Highland. It will be Senior Night. A victory could enable the Lady Pioneers to hold onto the No. 1 spot entering the tournament, although Anthem Boulder Creek, Phoenix Xavier Prep and Perry are right on their heels.
In the end, seedings don’t matter as much as one might think, according to Kirchner.
“At this point of the season, it is anyone’s game on any night, any day,’’ she said.
Kirchner said she was pleased with the play of defender Mary Clair Danilevics and mid/forward Kayla Fleming.
Chaparral coach Robyn Carlson and her players were ecstatic.
“To come back and beat a good team like Pinnacle after we lost to Perry gives us a lot of confidence,’’ Carlson said.
She called the win over Pinnacle “a whole team effort. Our girls did a great job. Hopefully this will be a huge help for us as far as seeding goes.’’
Senior Olivia Struckman has been one of Chaparral’s leaders all season, and she came up big in this one on what would be the game’s only goal with 22:26 left in the first half. Her sister, sophomore Sophia Struckman, got the assist.
Junior goalkeeper Taylor Wolpe had a strong effort. She protected the goal well and her teammates protected her, knocking the ball away when she was unable to catch up to it. One notable such play came when teammate Mackenzie Robinson deflected a shot with about 29 minutes to go.
Pinnacle kept the pressure on and star senior Jorian Baucom put a solid shot on goal with 2:47 left, but Wolpe made the grab.