SOCCER ROUNDUP: Deer Valley downs Knights
The Lake Havasu boys struggled to create offense against Glendale Deer Valley, falling 4-1 in a Desert West region soccer match on Friday at Lee Barnes Stadium.
The Knights had trouble stringing together possession in the first half, unable to get any forward momentum against a solid Deer Valley midfield.
As a result, the Skyhawks were able to keep play in the Lake Havasu end for most of the opening 40 minutes, putting pressure on the defense despite a lack of scoring chances early on.
Deer Valley finally broke through in the 23rd minute, playing a long pass to the corner for that was chased down by midfieldser Brandon Valdez, then crossed into the box. The pass landed at the feet of Izaiah Geater and saved by Havasu goalkeeper Hayden Lintz, but the rebound bounced cleanly to Skyhawks midfielder Pedto Prieto, who buried the opportunity and gave Deer Valley a 1-0 lead.
The Skyhawks pressure brought them opportunities on the offensive end, earning six first-half corner kicks.
Those set pieces led directly to goals as the half wore on, with the fourth Deer Valley corner played onto the far post for one of three Skyhawks players to net, with Raul Hernandez beating his teammates to the punch to net the second goal.
On the fifth corner, Prieto curled an arcing shot directly into the far corner for a 3-0 lead. He nearly did so again on the final play of the half.
Lake Havasu answered soon after falling down 3-0, finally able to get an attack moving forward. Senior forward Brandon Torres led the break from the right side, and unleashed an arcing shot with the outside of his left foot that beat the Deer Valley keeper.
The Knights seemed to be able to find more of that spark early in the second half, putting together a pair of opportunities in the first five minutes of the second half. Jonathan Perez rung a shot off the outside of the post and Tristan Fowler got in front of a crossing pass, but sailed his atttempt high.
Deer Valley was able to collect itself, however, with senior Irvin Alvarez connecting on a quick counter, one-touching the ball inside the far post on a break to cap the scoring for the night.
Perez had another opportunity blocked and Fowler another chance sail high, but Havasu wasn’t able to net another goal.
“We did some good things the first 10 minutes of the game,” Knights coach Christina Gibbs said.
“Tonight, first touch was our biggest killer. The first half we weren’t having any support off the ball. So, whenever anybody got to the ball, there was nobody there.
“That killed our momentum. Every time we touched the ball, they’re a good team, they were right on us. When we didn’t take a great first touch, they were in on it to take it away from us and start their attack.”
The Knights close out their regular season at home on Tuesday with senior night against Avondale Agua Fria.
Deer Valley 5,
Lake Havasu 1
The Lake Havasu girls were able to avoid a shutout, netting a goal in the final minutes against Deer Valley in a Desert West region loss on Friday in Glendale.
Senior forward Megan Steele sidestepped the Skyhawks goalkeeper, then dragged the Deer Valley backstop as she held on to her arm, muscling in a goal to net the Knights only goal of the night.
“It was pretty amazing,” Knights coach Nic Jones said.
“Megan fought through the other girl puller on her and buried it in the net.”
Deer Valley, ranked No. 9 in 5A, capitalized on the few defensive mistakes the Knights made to pull away in the contest, but wasn’t able to keep the clean sheet.
“The girls are super excited,” Jones said. “They understand importance of not being shut out.
“They had a bunch more opportunities, but were only able to convert one.”
The Knights will play a make-up game tonight at Phoenix Barry Goldwater. The game was originally scheduled for Jan. 10, but was postponed after rain flooded the Goldwater fields overnight.