GILBERT — The No. 1 Flagstaff Eagles eliminated No. 4 Catalina Foothills in the Class 4A girls state semifinals on Tuesday with a 1-0 shutout.
“I feel sorry for our four seniors, but we start six freshman, two sophomores and one junior,” Falcons coach Dave Lemon said. “For the underclassmen, it’s a neat thing. The future is so bright.”
Flagstaff called the shots from the start of the game at Williams Field High School in Gilbert. Lemon said he believed the team suffered from nerves, especially because they’re so young, but Catalina Foothills didn’t give in.
Between the Eagles’ smothering control, the Falcons found moments to piece together plays and make a run at goal, although they failed to convert as the first half ended scoreless.
“Normally, when we come out nervous, we come in and settle down,” Catalina Foothills senior Meghan Hawkins said. “We had some really good chances, but just didn’t put them away.”
The Eagles came out fast again at the start of the second half, and this time capitalized. Flagstaff scored its winning goal three minutes after the break.
The Falcons continued playing hard, but weren’t able to score a goal.
“Probably the last 20 minutes we were more dangerous than we had been,” Lemon said. “And that’s kind of our style of soccer, but it’s hard to find that one goal to get you back in.”
Catalina Foothills beat Seton Catholic Prep and Cactus Shadows to make it to the semis.
Hawkins said the playoff success the girls soccer team has had is just part of the legacy of the program.
“The eight stars are there for a reason,” Hawkins said of the school’s eight titles. “For other teams, it’s ‘can we make the tournament?’ For us it’s ‘can we make the finals?’”
The Falcons ended the season with 21 wins and 40 more goals than last year.
“I told them all year, it’s a special group of ladies,” Lemon said. “We came up a little short, but it doesn’t define our season. We had a special year and I look forward to starting all over again next year.”
Salpointe girls win easily to reach final
No. 2 Salpointe Catholic girls blanked No. 6 Prescott 5-0 in the semifinals Tuesday night. The Lancers next face Flagstaff for the 4A state title, Saturday at 11:30 a.m. at Williams Field High School in Gilbert.