With a winter storm threatening overhead, Bradshaw Mountain’s girls’ soccer team managed to fit in its 4A Grand Canyon region opener at No. 2-ranked Flagstaff Tuesday afternoon. It didn’t go as well as hoped for the No. 10 Bears, however.
Playing in 30-mph winds, Flagstaff blistered Bradshaw Mountain, 8-1, to remain unbeaten in the league standings and in power-point matches (3-0, 8-0), while the Bears dropped to 0-1, 3-3.
Bradshaw Mountain grabbed an early 1-0 lead in the 10th minute when freshman midfielder Hayley Denman headed in a corner kick off the foot of senior fullback Marissa Archer. Toward the end of the first half, Archer rolled her right ankle and didn’t return to the field. She walked on her right foot afterward and expects to play Saturday at home versus Coconino, coach John Sterling said.
“We did well until her injury,” Sterling added. “Flagstaff scored the equalizer 10 minutes later. They [Eagles] have a tall lineup, and they were connecting for set pieces off corner kicks. But we played well. They are beating teams badly.”
In fact, Flagstaff had outscored the opposition a whopping 63-2 in its seven power-point matches heading into Tuesday. Now, make that 71-3.
Sterling isn’t bothered by Tuesday’s setback. He said the Bears “have probably the strongest schedule of all the teams in our division,” which aids them in either gaining or holding their ground in the power-point standings. Bradshaw Mountain has already played 4A No. 3 Higley, No. 8 Cactus Shadows and No. 13 Saguaro, winning against the latter.
“We are going to get through the next four games and see what we can do, then focus on Seton [Catholic] and Prescott [ranked No. 4 in 4A to end the season],” Sterling said. “I’m proud of the girls. The loss won’t hurt us much. We’ve got four winnable games in front of us [against Lee Williams, Coconino, Mingus Union and Mohave].”
One good piece of news? Bradshaw Mountain starting sophomore defender Michelle Howe, who injured the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her right knee in Club soccer last spring, should return to the lineup healthy later this week, Sterling said.
Bradshaw Mountain continues on in region action when it travels to Lee Williams (3-5 record in power-point matches, 0-3 region) Thursday for a 6 p.m. kickoff in Kingman. Five of the Bears’ last six regular-season matches will be in region.
Weather permitting, Flagstaff will visit 4A No. 4 Prescott (7-0, 2-0) at 5 p.m. Thursday at Bill Shepard Field. This match will likely determine the Grand Canyon region champion, even though the Badgers will still have three games left on their region schedule.
Doug Cook is a sports reporter for The Daily Courier, the Prescott Valley Tribune and the Chino Valley Review. Follow him on Twitter at @dougout_dc. Email him at email@example.com or call 928-445-3333, ext. 2039.