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Les Willsey

Staff Writer,

Mesa High, Mesa Mtn. View claim berths in Mesa Soccer final

Dec 18, 2012

Mesa Mountain View's Jose Zuniga scored his second goal of the match in the 73rd minute Tuesday night to finish the Toros' come-from-behind 3-2 victory over Vista Grande in a boys semifinal match of the Mesa Jackrabbit Soccer Invitational at Mesa High.

Mountain View faces intra-city rival Mesa High on Saturday Dec. 22 at 11 a.m. at Mesa High in the tournament title game. Mesa advanced by edging Queen Creek in Tuesday's other semifinal, 2-1. Mesa High scored twice in the first half. The first was on a  free kick by Brian Perea. Two minutes later Jose Barrera added what proved to be the deciding goal, helped by a defensive lapse by Queen Creek. Barrera was one-one with Queen Creek's keeper at the top of the box and beat him to the ball. punching it to the back of the net.

Queen Creek's goal came a little more than midway through the second half (cored by Ryan Adams). The Bulldogs added pressure in the final minutes, but couldn't muster the tying goal.

"We got flat the first half at times on defense," Queen Creek coach Mauricio Ramirez said. "After they scored and in the second half we were more aggressive. We were too defensive the first half."

In Mountain View's triumph, Zuniga stood out. The senior forward pulled Mountain View even at 2 in the 55th goal with a tough-angle tally from right of the box into the left corner of the net. Mountain View missed a golden chance to take the lead in the 60th minute with a penalty kick on a handball foul in the box by Vista Grande. Pepe Alonso's PK pinched just left. Zuniga rescued the Toros with the decider 13 minutes later. 

Vista Grande got a pair of goals from junior forward Jonathan Osei. Osei put Vista Grande up 1-0, but that was answered by Mountain View's Luis Bustillos in the 19th minute. Osei gave Vista Grande a 2-1 lead two minutes later and the Spartan took that margin to intermission.

The girls portion of the tournament concludes Saturday morning with semifinal matches at Mesa High at 9 a.m. Those matchups are Prescott against Mesa and Skyline against North Canyon. The winners meet at 1 p.m. for the title following the conclusion of the boys championship match.