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Chandler takes out Cibola 3-1
When Phoenix-area teams come to Yuma, there's one trait they always seem to bring with them — size.
That physicality helped Chandler defeat Cibola 3-1 in the Raiders' home opener Tuesday night.
Cibola game out and played with speed and intensity from the get go, keeping the ball in the midfield for a good portion of the first half. But when Chandler forward Alesandra Colbert broke through on a fast break and scored, the wind that was filling the Raider sails slowly died down.
After falling down 2-0 in the first half, Cibola opened the second half with a goal from freshman Mackenzi Michels. But before anyone could celebrate, Chandler defender Kassie Armendiaz scored to make it 3-1.
“Unfortunately they got that early lead,” said Cibola head coach Joel Ibarra. “Then we started the second half with the high intensity with the early goal, but unfortunately that third goal mellowed us down a little bit and ruined our plans.”
The Raiders played Chandler last season on the road and lost 2-1.
“Chandler's a really good team,” Ibarra said. “We stuck with them for 80 minutes. That's what we expect from Phoenix teams, physical, big, well trained and that's what we saw. Our girls kept it there the whole game.”
Despite the loss it was a big night for Michel, who scored her first goal of her Raider career. She headed a rebound off the keeper that floated 15 feet in the air before just clearing the crossbar.
“It just happened, it was really quick,” she said. “I just jumped, hit it, and then was like, ‘Oh my god, I made it.'”
Although Ibarra is pleased with his team's effort, he knows there's some specific things they have to work on to get to Chandler's level. After going down 3-1, Chandler dominated possession, and the ball seldomly left Cibola's half of the field.
“The ideal thing is first of all get that ball to our attacking half and from there keep possession,” he said. “We're lacking that a little bit but we have a lot of inexperienced girls out there and this is our first home game. We have a lot of sophomores and freshmen, so it's a shock to them at first.
“Towards the end of the season we'll be keeping a little bit more possession in our half and avoiding their defenders.”
Ibarra likes the fact that his girls get to play the best early in the season to show them the level they need to get to.
“There's no other better test than to play what we expect at the state level,” Ibarra said. “It's always good to play the best teams out there, especially if it's their first game. It's only going to get tougher.”
Cibola takes on Gila Ridge at home Thursday.
Matt Carstens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 539-6880. Find him on Twitter at @YSMattCarstens.