Girls soccer matches to see this week
What a logjam.
As of Tuesday, eight teams in Div. I girls soccer were unbeaten (a couple had ties) and nearly that many had one loss in power rankings matches. It means there’s a decent chance several schools with two or three losses won’t make it to the top 16.
With two weeks remaining to figure all this out, let’s get to it.
(Records are power rankings matches as of Tuesday afternoon; all matches at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted).
Kofa at Basha: At No. 9 (6-0) Kofa is good but with a weak strength of schedule it’s a bit more difficult to figure out how good it is. Kofa has allowed but one hand’s worth of goals in total this season, but a -4.98 in strength of schedule is easily the weakest of the top 10 teams in Div. I, and they have also played some lower division teams in tournaments (Campo Verde from Div. II might be the best they’ve faced). Basha (No. 19 at 2-3-2) is in the hunt because of its schedule, and a couple good wins against Hamilton, Chandler and Campo Verde (tournament match). But the Bears are coming off a tie to Gilbert and loss to Perry, and have Perry again (Thursday) and Yuma Cibola (Friday), plus Highland next week.
Hamilton at Chandler: At No. 13 at 7-1, Chandler is in better shape than Hamilton, and that hasn’t happened too often in any sport recently. Sure enough, the caveat is here: The Wolves have Hamilton again on Friday, then No.2 Desert Vista twice (Jan. 22 and 24) next week to end the regular season. That’s brutal. 2-2 in this stretch would be excellent, and 1-3 might still be enough to get in the top 16. Might. After a good tie with Xavier and 1-0 loss to Perry last week, the Huskies (No. 20 at 3-3-2) will get a bit of a reprieve from their harsh schedule coming up. So Hamilton has a decent chance to make a move into the playoff field, especially with a win or two this week and a win against Mountain View next week.
Pinnacle at Chaparral: There’s a new No. 1 in Div. I and it’s the Pioneers, who can easily make a claim for being the best team. Chaparral (No. 9 at 8-1) will be the last big test for Pinnacle, which should win its final three matches after this one, a rematch from a 3-1 win by Pinnacle in early January. The Firebirds look in good shape here, except they still have Xavier twice in their final three matches.
Queen Creek at Seton Catholic: Another interesting cross-divisional matchup. QC (No. 14 at 5-0) has shutout its past four opponents. QC (No. 14 at 5-0 in Div. II) enters a slightly more challenging part of its schedule with this game, Williams Field twice and Combs twice. Seton (No. 2 at 9-0 in Div. III) has a slightly easier road with Tempe Prep, Tempe and Chandler Prep, but has three matches in three days beginning with this one.
Campo Verde at Mountain View: This one ought be good. Forget about division differences (Mountain View in Div. I, Campo Verde in Div. III), Mountain View (No. 16 at 6-2) didn’t play well at all in a 3-0 loss to the Coyotes during the Dobson Mustang tournament over Winter Break. The Toros also have Westwood the day before (Tuesday) and the day after (Thursday), then a week off before Hamilton on Jan. 24. This match is huge for MV to stay in the playoff hunt or further cement a spot with a win. The Coyotes (No. 3 at 7-0) are no strangers to playing bigger schools (Dobson, Mtn. View, Red Mountain, Higley) and winning those matches. Two more matchups with Higley remain on the docket and a few more wins like those will secure a top seed in Div. III for the Coyotes.
Red Mountain at Trevor Browne: Tuesday’s matchup against rival-Mesa will be the toughest test left, but the Lions (No. 18 at 5-2) can’t overlook Trevor Browne (No. 23 at 6-3-1) the next day. TB has a tough Westview team plus a winnable game against Tolleson left on the schedule. A loss here might require RM to win its final three matches to get in because the generous schedule (Desert Ridge, Westwood, Skyline) won’t help the schedule strength much.
Scottsdale Prep at Fountain Hills (3:30 p.m.): Though the records are skewing the numbers temporarily, it’s a showdown of No. 6 Scottsdale Prep (3-0-1) vs. No. 7 Ftn. Hills (6-1-1). Because of the first four matches of the power rankings season being forfeited due to ineligible player, Scottsdale Prep is behind the curve, but they are coming off a nice win against Coronado. Tough matches against NW Christian and a winnable match vs. Scottsdale Christian are all that remain. Fountain Hills has played those teams already with mixed success, plus bigger schools in Campo Verde and Notre Dame.
Queen Creek at Williams Field: A battle of the 14-seeds (QC at 5-0 in Div. II, WF at 4-4 in Div. III). This will be a tough go for QC coming off a big match against Seton Catholic the night before. The Black Hawks will face Gilbert Classical (a 10-0 win earlier in the season) on Thursday, then Chandler Prep (a 3-2 loss) next week before QC again. These two teams meet again Jan. 23.
Perry at Basha: Nothing better than rivals fighting for final playoff spots as is likely to happen here. Basha (No. 19 at 2-3-2) has a long way to go on its schedule so the movements is going to occur daily with the Bears. Perry (No. 15 at 5-2-1) has a 2-0 win over Basha under its belt from the beginning of the season, and a more advantageous schedule to conclude (Mesquite and Mountain Pointe).
Mesa at Mountain Pointe: The first of two meetings between the schools in three days, the Pride have Mesa-Corona del Sol-Mesa in three consecutive days, a huge stretch for Mountain Pointe. Two or three wins here plus a favorable final week of the schedule can vault Mtn. Pointe (No. 26 at 2-3) right back into the mix with a final regular season match against Perry next week. Besides Red Mountain on Tuesday and these two Mtn. Pointe matchups, Mesa (No. 28 at 2-5) also has Corona del Sol on Jan. 23, the day after Westwood. It’ll be an arduous task for both schools to win enough to leapfrog a dozen schools ahead.
Chaparral at Xavier: Two days after dealing with No. 1 Pinnacle, the Firebirds (No. 9 at 8-1) get this as “dessert.” Whoopee. It’s a good thing Chaparral won out most of the early portion of its power rankings schedule because January at Chaparral is about as difficult as it gets for anyone in Div. I. Xavier (No. 10 at 5-1-1) can probably afford a split with the Firebirds if it comes to it, and if the Gators win their other remaining games, because the second matchup next week will be XCP’s third match in three days. These schools will meet again to conclude the regular season on Jan. 24.
Notre Dame at Fountain Hills (3:30 p.m.): Fountain Hills was covered a bit above, while Notre Dame (No. 10 at 5-1-1) won the first matchup, 4-0, in late November. With another good one against Cactus Shadows looming on Friday, followed by the Falcons again next week, this could be a pivotal match for the Saints as they try to stay in the top 16. Another loss or (especially two) could doom the ‘Dame.
Mountain Pointe at Corona del Sol: If the Aztecs can get through this exhausting week (three matches in three days, capped by this one) with a couple wins, Corona can put itself back into the playoff picture, with winnable matchups against Mesa and Alhambra next week. Mountain Pointe also has to move up several notches and surpass those in front, but the Pride should feel much the same way if they can get a win here. Two matches with Mesa and a finale against Perry are also crucial.
Red Mountain at Desert Ridge: The Jaguars are probably playing spoiler at this point given their distance behind the top 16 and lack of matches left (2) to catch up after this one. Red Mountain is firmly on the bubble, and the Lions took this first matchup, 2-1, against the Jaguars last week. If Red Mountain wins again, it can make a small but necessary move into the top 16 with wins against Skyline and Westwood.
Chandler at Hamilton: Round 1 of these crucial final matches for both teams went to Chandler, 1-0, early this week. Hamilton slips to No. 20 (as of Wednesday morning) in the rankings so the Huskies are still in the playoff picture. The Huskies should be favored against Casa Grande next week, with a finale against Mountain View possibly being pretty interesting, if it’s not too late. Chandler can’t rest on anything even at No. 12 because two matches against Desert Vista, and while the No. 2 Thunder will give Chandler a solid boost in strength of schedule, counting on that in lieu of a win or two against D.V. is dangerous.
Notre Dame at Cactus Shadows: The mad scramble in Div. II begins. Cactus Shadows is No. 18 (as of Wednesday morning) and Notre Dame is No. 11. These two schools will meet again on Jan. 22 at Notre Dame. The Saints have a matchup with Glendale Deer Valley to end the regular season, while Cactus Shadows is at Boulder Creek, one of top better teams in power rankings in Div. I, on Jan. 24. All of this leads to a slight advantage in Notre Dame’s favor in terms of securing a playoff spot.
Higley at Campo Verde: A matchup of possible top-8 teams in Div. III. Higley (No. 11 as of Wednesday morning) lost 3-2 to Campo Verde in the Cactus Cup tournament in early December. But the Coyotes have a lot of matches left, including Mountain View and two with Higley, so while Campo will have no problem making the playoffs, they are tougher to figure in whether they could end up as the No. 1 seed or perhaps fall to No. 6-9 with a couple losses. These schools will meet again to end the regular season on Jan. 23, a day after a matchup with Gilbert Classical Academy, whom the Knights beat handily at the very beginning of the power rankings schedule. Two wins of these last three matches will get Higley in, 1 out of 3 might be enough to hang on, but tricky to project.
Mountain Pointe at Mesa (10 a.m.): Mountain Pointe has so many games this week and next week it’s ridiculous, and this was added on (to make it four matches in four days for the Pride) because of a rainout in December. The Pride are 27th (as of Wed. morning) but that doesn’t matter a lot because they are so far behind in power rankings matches. It also means that while the schedule isn’t real easy (Mesa twice, Corona del Sol and Perry among them) a 4-2 finish could move the Pride upward a long way. Time is running out on Mesa and with MP twice and Corona del Sol also left, a 3-1 finish might be the minimum necessary for the Jackrabbits to be back in the picture.
Tags: Basha, Campo Verde, Chandler, Chaparral, Corona del Sol, Hamilton, Higley, Mesa, Mountain Pointe, Mountain View, Notre Dame, Perry, Pinnacle, Queen Creek, Red Mountain, scottsdale prep, Seton Catholic, williams field, Xavier