‘In synch’ to win - The Explorer: Sports

‘In synch’ to win

Girls soccer team to vie for state title

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Posted: Thursday, February 3, 2011 9:08 am | Updated: 9:08 am, Thu Feb 3, 2011.

Chelsea Ruland likes the chances of Pusch Ridge Christian Academy's girls soccer team returning to the state title game this year, after last year's 2-1 title game loss to Northwest Christian.

What's not to like after an easy 3-0 win over a Safford team that came into the final league game at 10-4, and 6-1 in league?

The Lions (12-3, 12-0) lost their first three games - non-conference games to Rincon, Canyon Del Oro and Ironwood Ridge - but they haven't lost since. Now the girls team will enter the 1A/2A/3A playoffs as the #1 seed in Arizona. They outscored their league opponents, 63-2, led by senior goalie Mara Batinica.

Of course, the Lions also went unbeaten in league play in 2009-2010.

Then, there's senior Chelsea Ruland, who led Southern Arizona in goals scored for the second straight year. Ruland commands a lot of attention for obvious reasons.

"I'm getting about the same amount of attention as I got last year," Ruland said.

With all the similarities to last year's team, why should the 2011 version win a state title?

"The wings are getting better," Ruland said. "As a team, we're becoming more in synch with each other. It's better this year."

This year's team defeated Safford because three different players scored goals for the Lions.

Anna Jacob scored an unassisted goal just 14 minutes into the game for a 1-0 lead. Three minutes later, Ruland scored on an assist from Mia Batinica.

"I could tell that they were focused and into it," said coach Juan Bortfeld. "Once we were up 2-0, it showed what this team is all about.

"This team has cohesiveness. That gives them a leg up."

Caroline Herrera scored the third Lions goal, shortly before halftime, on another assist from Batinica.

The Lions will have to play all their playoff games in Phoenix. The opener is this Saturday, Feb. 5, at Red Mountain Park.

While there's no home-field advantage for the Lions, Ruland pointed out one advantage. By virtue of being the #1 seed, the Lions will get a first-round bye and won't play until Saturday.

"We've had a pretty rough schedule," Ruland said. "I'm glad we're getting a rest.

"We were fired up (for Safford)," she added. "We need to go into the games aggressive. Keep the fire and passion."

The Pusch Ridge boys will play Empire on Friday at 7 p.m., also at Red Mountain Park.

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HS Schedule

Tuesday, September 16

Boys Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Buena, Cienega at Marana

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge, Catalina at Amphi (Silverbell GC)

Catalina Foothills, Pueblo, Sahuarita at Sahuaro

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Mountain View at Rio Rico

Ironwood Ridge at Glendale Ironwood

Swimming (@4 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge, Sahuarita at Desert Christian

Wednesday, September 17

Girls Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Rincon at CDO

Ironwood Ridge, Desert View at Flowing Wells (Silverbell)

Cross Country (@4:30)

Salpointe at Catalina Foothills

Palo Verde, Nogales at Marana

Rincon, St. Gregory at CDO

Sahuarita, Pueblo, Pusch Ridge at Desert View

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Empire at Marana (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

CDO at Queen Creek

Cienega at Mountain View

Sahuaro at Catalina Foothills

Walden Grove at Pusch Ridge

Thursday, September 18

Girls Golf

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Boys Golf

Sahuaro and Salpointe at Ironwood Ridge

CDO, Rincon, Sunnyside at Tucson High

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Marana at Sahuarita

Ironwood Ridge at Sahuaro (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

Catalina Foothills at Rincon

Pusch Ridge at San Manuel

Swimming (4 p.m.)

Marana vs. Tucson at Quincy Douglas Pool

Cienega at Marana

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Amphi

Catalina Foothills at Sahuaro

Freshman Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Flowing Wells at Marana (4 p.m.)

Desert View at Mountain View

Cienega at CDO

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

JV Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Amphi at Marana

Santa Cruz Valley at Pusch Ridge

Mountain View at Desert View

CDO at Cienega

Buena at Ironwood Ridge

Sahuarita at Catalina Foothills

Friday, September 19

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge at Mt. Carmel Invitational (San Diego, CA)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions

Football (@7 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge at Santa Cruz Valley

Catalina at Marana

Desert Vista at Mountain View

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Cienega at CDO

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

Saturday, September 20

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Marana at Old Pueblo Invite(Lincoln Park)

Mountain View at San Diego

Catalina Foothills, CDO at Ojo Rojo (Chandler, AZ)


Marana at Wolves Classic (Chandler High)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions


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