Weather for Saturday’s state soccer playoff game between the Canyon Del Oro Dorados and Prescott Badgers: pleasant, in the mid-70s, with a light breeze.
The contest was less than pleasant, and plenty busy, for goalkeepers on the Prescott squad.
In a high-speed, physical contest, CDO (21-2) recorded 23 shots on goal to Prescott’s three in a 4-0 victory. CDO now takes on Sabino, one of two teams to beat the Dorados this season, at 7 p.m. Thursday at Tucson High School.
Badger goalies were in constant motion Saturday. Responsible for much of the offensive onslaught: forwards Nick Marshall and Donny Toia, who continued their regular season dominance of opposing defenses.
Marshall, a senior committed to play for UNLV next season, scored three goals for the second game in a row, and Toia, a junior, added one more to cement the victory for CDO.
Marshall’s first goal, a cross-body shot to the opposite corner of the net, came with 21:51 left in the first period. Toia’s finesse kick past the goalkeeper’s outstretched arms with 32:15 left in the second gave CDO its third goal of the day.
“(Nick Marshall) and Donny are working well up there,” said Dorados’ head coach Josh Marshall.
“When those two work well together, people better watch out, because they’re both phenomenal players.”
Someone else to watch for the rest of the playoffs: senior CDO midfielder Ronald Tadoum. Tadoum played equally well on offense and defense, pressuring the goal and opposing players alike, and threading a precision pass with 33:02 left in the second period to assist a Marshall score, opening up a 1-0 contest.
“Ronald’s been big in there,” said coach Marshall. “He’s big and strong and doesn’t turn the ball over.”
Prescott’s offense did turn the ball over. Dorado defenders smothered senior Badger forwards William Hammack and Zechariac Olsen, the top two scorers in the 4A-I Western Sky Division.
Senior midfielder Mike Valacich and defenders senior Conner Muir, freshman Michael Phillips and senior Jeff White were nearly impenetrable throughout, recording numerous steals and protecting senior goalkeeper Ryan Retz.
CDO led 1-0 at the half.
“Breaking that seal of 0-0 was really important,” said coach Marshall. “We played a little sloppy in the first period, but came on strong in the second.”
The Dorados may not be able to afford a slow start in their next outing. Sabino’s Sabercats beat CDO 3-2 on Dec. 1, and CDO hasn’t forgotten.
Tadoum had only one word when asked about playing against Sabino.
“Revenge,” he said with a small smile.
Northwest schools end their campaigns
The Lions boys started the playoffs with a resounding blow. Led by junior forward Mitch Woody’s three goals, Pusch Ridge (14-6) defeated Scottsdale Christian (11-6) 6-1 in the first round of the 1A/2A/3A state tournament Feb. 5.
Also difficult to defend were senior captain and forward Casey Vick, who added two more goals, and junior midfielder Frank Parker with one. Sophomore midfielder Chad Springhetti finished with two assists, and junior midfielder Matt Horrigan and freshman halfback Corey Nelson each had one. Although Scottsdale Christian managed no shots on goal in the first half, senior goalkeeper Daniel Vavrusa saw a little more action in the second period, finishing with two saves.
The next day, Pusch Ridge lost 3-2 to rival Chandler Valley Christian (15-4. Springhetti scored both goals.
Canyon Del Oro
The Dorados’ freshman phenom goalkeeper Megan Baker continued to frustrate the opposition, but it was not enough to keep CDO (9-9) from losing to Cienega 3-0 on Feb. 4. Baker finished the game with seven saves, but the Dorado offense could manage only two shots on the opposing goal in the first period and did little better in the second.
CDO fans should begin to mark their calendars for next year, however, as the Dorados are expected to return many all-region performers. Sophomore defender Cara Beauchamp, freshman midfielder Kristen Rizzo and Baker all return, as will two all-region honorable mentions: sophomore midfielder Savannah Hines and junior defender Britnee Houtz.
The Nighthawks swept through the regular season, finishing 18-4, earning a #4-seed in the state tournament and appearing to be ready for a postseason run.
Someone forgot to tell Mesa Desert Ridge the plan. Ironwood Ridge fell to the Jaguars 3-2 in overtime.
The game ended regulation in a 1-1 tie, the Nighthawks’ sole goal coming on a shot by senior forward Sarah McIntosh at the 73-minute mark. Freshman forward Camie Barbera provided the assist to McIntosh in regulation and would go on to score Ironwood Ridge’s final goal in overtime. Sophomore goalkeeper Brooke Seavitt kept the Nighthawks in the game with six saves.
The Mountain Lion boys (7-10-1) lost to San Luis 2-0 in the first round of the 5A-II state tournament on Feb. 3.