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Sosa, San Luis among three teams in playoffs
With his top goal scorer out and second leading scorer questionable, San Luis girls soccer coach Ian McDougall hears a lot of people ask him how his Sidewinders expect to score in their playoff game against Phoenix-Mountain Pointe.
The way he sees it, people should be wondering how the Pride will score against the Sidewinders.
The No. 10 Sidewinders head to Red Mountain Park in Mesa to face No. 7 Mountain Pointe in the first round of the 5A-II playoffs today. They play at 5 p.m., followed at 7 p.m. on a different field in the complex by Kofa. The No. 14 Kings face the No. 3 Gilbert-Highland Hawks.
Also in action today is No. 5 Cibola, which faces the No. 12 Gilbert-Perry Pumas in the 5A-II bracket. They play at Kofa at 6 p.m.
Montse Rodriguez has missed the past five weeks for the Sidewinders (9-3) but still leads the team with 11 goals. Brianda Gil is second on the team, but may not play either. She, along with two other starters, missed the Sidewinders' season finale, a 1-0 win at Kofa.
“We're really hoping (Gil) can come back from her minor thing,” McDougall said. “I'm expecting big things from her when she comes back. Hopefully she's healthy. If not, most of the weight has been picked up by our central midfield, led by Gisel Duarte. She got the big goal against Kofa. I truly think that she's going to lead our offense going in on Tuesday night.”
But McDougall said he expects goalie Carolyn Sosa and the Sidewinder defense to keep the team in the game against the Pride (8-4) tonight.
“Our strength has never been our offense. We have a lot of 1-0 wins this year. Every player that plays on my defense is a sophomore or a junior, except for Carolyn. I don't care who you put me up against right now, you could pick Xavier, the No. 1 team in the state, and I think my defense is good enough. Going into Tuesday night's game, everyone's asking the question ‘Coach McDougall, how are you going to score a goal?' My response is ‘How are they?' My defense is just awesome.”
The Sidewinders qualified for the playoffs last year, losing in the second round to eventual state champion Xavier. Kofa (8-4) reached the 5A-I playoffs two years ago in coach Marisela Velasquez's first season but failed to qualify last year.
This year, their reward is the 10-2 Hawks. Lesly Salazar has provided an offensive spark for the Kings since moving up from the defense. Mikisa Armenta will get the nod in goal.
“I think we have to play our best game and go up there with some confidence,” Velasquez said. “Sometimes when we go up there and play Phoenix teams the girls tend to psych themselves out before the game even starts.”
The only girls team in Yuma today is Gila Valley Region champion Cibola (10-2). They play at Kofa as a new AIA rule has all playoff games played at neutral sites.
“We wanted to play them at home but Kofa is a good soccer field,” first-year Raider coach Carlos Gonzalez said. “We're still at home so I think we'll be OK. We'll probably have our fans supporting us and that's what really makes the difference.”
After forward Stephanie Beltran graduated early in December, freshman Andrea Bedoya has picked up a lot of the scoring slack. Carlee Davis will be in goal against the Pumas (6-6).
“Perry is a good team from a tough league,” Gonzalez said. “We'll see because anything can happen at state. It's up to us to not make mistakes and play our game.”