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Don KetchumStaff Writer, AIA365.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Xavier outlasts Pinnacle in first round of TOC soccerDec 3, 2012
The soccer teams from Phoenix Xavier Prep and Phoenix Pinnacle traveled similar paths in last year’s Division I girls state tournament. Both fell in the semifinals, Xavier to eventual champion Gilbert Highland and Pinnacle to Chandler Hamilton.
Xavier and Pinnacle were back at it on Monday (Dec. 3) as the 2012-13 season began to kick into high gear, facing off in a first-round match of the Tournament of Champions at the Reach 11 Sports Complex in north Phoenix.
Xavier scored a goal in each half before holding off Pinnacle in the closing minutes for a 2-1 victory.
Xavier raised its record to 3-0, and Pinnacle fell to 2-1. Both play 6 p.m. matches on Tuesday (Dec. 4) at Reach 11 in the Gold Division. Xavier will meet Queen Creek and Pinnacle will take on Tucson Catalina Foothills.
Xavier coach Barb Chura said her team played well, although missed out on a few opportunities that would have given the Gators a more comfortable lead. Chura added that Xavier did score two more goals, but both were disallowed by the officials.
“Like us, Pinnacle has become one of the better teams in recent years, and we realized that if they scored a goal, they would make it a game,’’ Chura said.
Unfortunately for Pinnacle, that goal – by Lily Brown – came with just a little more than a minute left in the game, and the Pioneers didn’t have enough time to try for the equalizer.
“It was a good learning experience for us,’’ Chura said.
Kellie Peay scored the first Xavier goal, and Michaela Dooley sent home the second goal in the second half for the 2-0 lead.
Pinnacle picked up the pace in the second half, but Xavier’s defenders were aggressive, digging the ball out of the corners and getting the ball back up the field.
“I thought we played pretty well and we dominated, definitely in the first half,’’ Chura said. “We did do a nice job defending the ball.’’
Xavier’s Elizabeth Poblete suffered an ankle injury in the scramble in front of the net that led to the late Pinnacle goal. It is uncertain what her status will be for the remainder of the tournament.