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Jose GarciaMultimedia Journalist/Historian email@example.com
Pinnacle, Washington reach final of Moon Valley tourneyDec 6, 2012
It’s too early to tell just how good some of the high school teams are.
Plus, the teams that are beginning to reach the final games of regular season tournaments are starting to exhibit signs of fatigue after a week filled with games. So was the case during Thursday’s semifinals of the Moon Valley Tournament for boys in Phoenix.
Four teams from the same city (North, Pinnacle, Thunderbird, Washington) each played great at times. But each team also left the field feeling unsatisfied about their overall performances, including Pinnacle and Washington, the teams that advanced to Friday's 6 p.m. final at Moon Valley.
Pinnacle withstood 12-plus minutes of playing with a man down against North to send the game to a shootout after each team scored two goals in regulation.
Pinnacle goalkeeper Sean Bouland blocked two penalty kicks to help his team win the shootout 4-3. Washington freshman Jesus Valenzuela’s ninth goal of the season was all his team needed to beat Thunderbird in a game featuring two evenly matched opponents.
North possessed the ball longer than Pinnacle, partly because it had a man advantage after a Pinnacle player received his second yellow card, but North (5-1) couldn’t capitalize.
After the game North’s 22-year coach, Carlos Zubiate, got his team’s attention with a fiery speech.
“They (North’s players) needed this loss to show that they need to pay more attention in practice,” Zubiate said.
Pinnacle is off to a 6-0 start, but coach Brock Heykoop said after the game that his team needs to develop better chemistry.
“We have a lot of quality players who are learning their roles,” Heykoop said.
One of those quality players is Mason Robertson, a tall and dominant force in the air.
Robertson scored both goals for Pinnacle in the first half, one off a header after a corner kick and another after finishing an excellent pass sequence by Pinnacle. Another dangerous player for Pinnacle is midfielder Nick Semintendi, who like some of North’s experienced players did a good job of dribbling away from trouble.
But Semintendi has to sit out the final, because he’s the Pinnacle player who received the two yellow cards. Washington (6-0) also will play Friday without one of its starters (red card).
Washington had a man advantage for about four minutes in the second half before its player received the red card.
“I like what I see from our guys,” Washington’s 19-year coach Adam Roberts said. “I think we just played too much boom ball (long passes) today. Part of that is because we are tired.”
Washington’s tall and athletic goalkeeper, Noe Castro, earned his fourth shutout of the year and has allowed only two goals so far.