Two upstarts remain in final four
Each of the 5A state soccer tournament’s final four has its own feel-good story.
The best is Mesquite’s girls in 5A Division I. Going into the tournament, everyone knew the No. 11 Wildcats were better than their seeding, but Mesquite never made it this far in school history until it beat Corona del Sol and high-powered Highland to get here.
The Wildcats’ best defender and leading scorer (Jordan Bergeson) is out for the playoffs with a spleen injury. Their second-leading scorer (Alyssa Wooden) is now playing defense. And they lost one of their standout goalie (Taylor Rice) to a red card last Saturday.
The upstart on the boys side is Perry in 5A-II. The Pumas were already highly regarded as No. 5 seed entering the tournament, and are well-coached with longtime soccer guru Jim Vanney at the helm. But it’s also just the second year of varsity competition.
When the brackets came out, the big gulp was supposed to be Perry facing No. 1 Goodyear Millennium in these semifinals after Millennium rolled through the regular season.
But No. 16 Barry Goldwater, Perry’s opponent on Thursday, took out Millennium, and now Perry has the inside track to Saturday’s championship match.