In thrilling fashion, CDO takes state - The Explorer: Sports

In thrilling fashion, CDO takes state

Semifinal win over Sabino lifts Dorados

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Posted: Wednesday, February 18, 2009 12:00 am | Updated: 1:24 pm, Mon Apr 18, 2011.

Canyon Del Oro has won its first 4A-1 boys state soccer championship.

Stalwarts Nick Marshall and Donny Toia each scored in the final 10 minutes Saturday, lifting the Dorados past Scottsdale Chapparal 2-1 in a style reminiscent of the down-to-the-wire style of play that was CDO’s playoff hallmark.

While the state championship game was a thriller in its own right, Sabino head coach John Pearlman knew the outcome was never really in doubt.

“The whole season, we thought the championship would have to come through (Tucson),” said Pearlman last Thursday, following CDO’s dramatic 4-3 semifinal victory over his Sabercats.

“I’d expect CDO to win,” he said simply.

The Dorados’ firmest test of grit may have come Thursday, when CDO pulled out a comeback for any age.

After a scoreless first period -- marked by great defensive play from CDO seniors Eric Anderson, Conner Muir, Ronald Tadoum and Travis Gardner and sophomore Caleb Christa – senior Nick Marshall scored two quick goals in the first 10 minutes of the second half. Sabino answered with two goals of its own in the final 20 minutes to force overtime.

“It wasn’t our best game,” said CDO head coach Josh Marshall. “I mean, to lose a 2-0 lead … I never expected that to happen.”

Even more unexpected  -- with two minutes left in the second overtime period, a Sabino header put the Sabercats in the lead 3-2, eliciting an audible gasp and momentary silence from the large crowd of CDO supporters.

“I think they outplayed us for a lot of that second period,” said Marshall.

Marshall immediately pulled senior goalie Ryan Retz, giving the Dorados a numbers advantage on the offensive side, but also leaving the CDO goal unprotected.

As the seconds ticked away, the crowd and the players on the bench watched as CDO kept constant pressure on the Sabino goal, with every opportunity blocked by a staunch Sabercat defense.

With Marshall unable to get free and Toia blanketed by defenders, Sabino fans began a victory countdown with 10 seconds left.

They wouldn’t count long.

In the middle of a huge scrum, as legs flailed and the Sabino goalie dove to his left, senior Dorado captain Mike Valacich slid perpendicular to the goal, nudging the ball into the net, and tying the game for CDO at 3-3.

There were 3.6 seconds on the clock.

Stands and sideline exploded, and did so again when Retz blocked a key penalty kick and Nick Marshall booted home the final score of the shootout, a 5-3 CDO margin.

“It was just a great game,” said coach Marshall afterward, shaking his head and grinning.

“The kids figured out something to step it up, and get that goal.”

Marshall said he never lost faith, even in the waning moments.

“I was thinking, it can be done,” he said. “But I was also thinking ‘Man, this is so much stress out here!’”

“I’m just loving it now,” he added with a smile.

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HS Schedule

Tuesday, September 30

Boys Golf (3 p.m.)

Mountain View at Haven Golf Course

Ironwood Ridge, Buena, Catalina at Rincon (Dell Urich)

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

Marana at CDO

Maricopa at Mountain View

Ironwood Ridge at Vista Grande

Poston Butte at Catalina Foothills

San Miguel at Pusch Ridge

Freshman Football (6 p.m.)

Maricopa at Marana

Wednesday, October 1

Girls Golf (3 p.m.)

Mountain View vs. Ironwood Ridge (Omnu Tucson National)

CDO, Sunnyside at Flowing Wells (Silverbell)

Sabino at Catalina Foothills

Cross Country (4:30 p.m.)

Ironwood Ridge, Sahuarita at Flowing Wells (Columbus Park)

Marana, St. Gregory at Catalina Foothills

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

CDO at Ironwood Ridge

Freshman Football (6 p.m.)

Mountain View at Salpointe

Catalina Foothills at CDO

JV Football (6.p.m.)

Marana at Maricopa

Salpointe at Mountain View

CDO at Catalina Foothills

Thursday, October 2

Swimming (4 p.m.)

Mountain View, St. Gregory’s, Pusch Ridge at Marana

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

Mountain View at Poston Butte

Catalina Foothills at Flowing Wells

Pusch Ridge at Willcox

Varsity Football (7p.m.)

Maricopa at Marana

Mountain View at Salpointe

Catalina Foothills @ CDO

Ironwood Ridge at Rincon

Friday, October 3

Boys Golf (all day)

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Santa Rita/Flowing Wells Invitational

Girls Vollyeball (all day)

CDO, Catalina Foothills at Falcon Invitational

Cross Country

Catalina Foothills, CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Desert Twilight Festival

Varsity Footbal (7 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge at San Tan Valley

Saturday, October 4

Boys Golf (all day)

CDO at Santa Rita/Flowing Wells Invitational

Swimming (all day)

Catalina Foothills, CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Brophy/Xavier Swim Invitational

Girls Volleyball (4 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge at Desert Christian

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