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Don Ketchum

Staff Writer,

Lennon back, scores lone goal in Brophy's win over Tolleson

Nov 27, 2012

By Don Ketchum

The soccer canvas is clean at Phoenix Brophy Prep’s sports campus.  No brush strokes, no kaleidoscope of color. Even the team’s uniforms are a crisp white.

The Broncos, who were the Division I state runner-up a year ago, started fresh on Tuesday night (Nov. 27).

After a limited number of full workouts as the result of several players working on national teams up until recently, the Broncos came together and produced a 1-0 victory over visiting Tolleson in a rematch of last year’s semifinal match won by Brophy.

Applying the first dab of paint was the player many soccer followers believed would not be seen on Arizona’s high school fields any longer. Riggs Lennon, The Arizona Republic’s Player of the Year as a junior last season, was with the Real Salt Lake Residency Academy.

But the omnipresent forward changed his mind and returned to Brophy. He scored the Broncos’ lone goal just 4:12 into the match, and the team held on after Tolleson picked up the pace in the second half.

“He (Lennon) has made a decision to represent Brophy,’’ coach Marc Kelly said with a sigh of relief. “To have been with Real Salt Lake, this is a great commitment because the kid had a lot to lose (in regard to his future).’’

Lennon is so good, however, that his future shouldn’t take too much of a hit, barring some sort of serious injury.

A teammate headed the ball toward the front of the goal and Lennon booted it home. The well was dry after that as Tolleson put forth a gritty effort at both ends of the field. It just couldn’t get the tying goal.

“To go down a goal in the first five minutes can be demoralizing,’’ said Tolleson first-year coach Benjamin Andronic. “But we did a good job of rebounding and hanging in there as a group.’’

Brophy had rallied to defeat Tolleson 3-2 in overtime in last year’s semifinal.

“We had played with each other and knew each other, and we had extra incentive,’’ Andronic said. “I think we dominated them in the second half. And I think we’re only going to get better.’’

Except for the one hiccup, Nico Viscaina was solid in goal for Tolleson and Anthony Hernandez put on a clinic with his footwork.

“He (Hernandez) is amazing. You can’t teach skills like that. It’s natural,’’ Andronic said.

Brophy junior goalkeeper Phil Mourikes also played well.

“I thought we played very well defensively,’’ Kelly said. “I was pleased by the way we were able to keep them off the board, because Tolleson is a team that does not ever quit.’’

Brophy lost about a half-dozen starters from last season, but now will take more time in practice sessions for the players to get used to their roles and for Lennon to re-blend into the mix.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do, for sure,’’ Kelly said.