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Les Willsey

Staff Writer,

D. Vista girls, boys prevail in Diablo soccer title games

Dec 7, 2012

It was Desert Vista's night in soccer Friday night as the Thunder's girls and boys teams took down last year's Division I champions in the title games of the Bill Vanney Tempe Diablo Tournament at Tempe Sports Complex.

Kelly Watson delivered the tie-breaking and winning goal for Desert Vista's girls midway through the second half to give the Thunder a 2-1 win over defending D-I champ Highland. Desert Vista's boys used a set-piece goal by Josh Greene in the first half to edge 2012 D-I champ Hamilton, 1-0. 

Desert Vista's girls completed a 5-0 run in the tournament, allowing only the goal Highland scored in Friday's title match. That goal was an own goal, deflecting off a Thunder player at the goal-mouth on a throw-in by Highland's Jaden DeGracie. The goal came in the 52nd minute tying the score at 1 for11 minutes.

"I'ma defensivie freak," Desert Vista coach Marvin Hypolite said. "That goal will stay with me. They had to work hard for it."

Desert Vista (7-1) got the tally in needed from Watson in the 63rd minute -- off an assist from Tatum Heeres -- for the decider.

"We want to try and take it this year," Marvin Hypolite said, referring to the D-I title. "This was the last tournament for our seniors and they want to be responsible. It's always been a competition when we play them. It was a direct game. A set-piece game. We got the job done." 

Both teams had good opportunities to score in the first half, but just one goal found the back of a net. Forward Rachel Ressler did the honors with a fine individual effort. The Desert Vista senior dribbled and weaved her way from midfield to the Highland box and scored in the 29th minute.

"She's a class player," Hypolite said. "They come around once every blue moon."

Ressler and Watson combined for three goals apiece in Desert Vista's semifinal and title game victories. It was the second year in a row Desert Vista won the tournament. Desert Vista topped Corona in last year's final. The Thunder bowed out of state last year with a quarterfinal loss to Pinnacle.

Highland coach John Berzins, who has 19 players back from last year's state title team, knows his team will be hunted with the championship moniker attached. HIghland is now 6-1 for the season.

"They had a good game plan and executed," Berzins said. "They gave us our only loss last year. The good news is this is early December and not late January. We are the defending state champs. But we have to reprove ourselves."

In the boys title game, Greene, a senior forward, was the offensive hero for Desert Vista (7-1). Green knocked home a corner kick from sophomore Tate Schmidt. The goal came midway through the first half. Hamilton had to play a man down the latter portion of the second half, but was able to keep pressure on Desert Vista in the final minutes to make for a tense finish. Coach Mike Rabasca's team posted four shutouts in its five tournament wins. The Thunder prevented Hamilton from repeating as tournament champion. Hamilton (6-1) beat Gilbert in the tourney title match last year.