One aim of Perry's girls soccer team this season was to have a better year than last. So far, so good on several fronts.
No. 3 Perry took another step in improving on last year in the most important area -- state tournament play. On Saturday afternoon Perry scored late to add to a 1-0 lead, take the air out of No. 6 Basha and seal a 2-0 win over the Bears in a Division I quarterfinal game at Perry's John Wrenn Stadium.
Perry, which ran its winning streak to 11 matches, improved to 13-5-2 on the season and beat Basha for the second time this season. The win ended Basha' eight-game winning streak. Perry next faces No. 2 seed Boulder Creek in a semifinal contest. Boulder Creek edged Hamilton, 4-3, to earn its spot. Perry and Boulder Creek meet on Thursday Feb. 13 at 5 p.m. at Campo Verde High.
"One of our goals was to improve on last year," Perry coach Jason Dunn said. "Last year we were 9-2-1 (power-ranking matches). This year we were 10-1-1. Last year we made it to the quarterfinals at state. Now we're going to the semis."
Dunn's daughter, Makenna, produced the only goal Perry would need in the 23rd minute. Makenna Dunn scored on a free kick from 20 yards out near post. Basha keeper Tiana Pretzer got a hand on the shot, but it still found the net. Perry played with more vigor from the outset Saturday than it did in its first-round shootout win over Sandra Day O'Connor on Wednesday.
"Perry came out with a lot of intensity the first half," Basha coach Greg Johnson said. "One of our girls said at halftime she thought we weren't playing very well. But I said, 'Give them credit. They're a good team."
Basha picked up its game in the second half getting off more shots and penetrating Perry's defense more often than the first 40 minutes. Most of those shots came from leading scorer and senior Jazmarie Mader. The key juncture of the second half came in the 70th and 71st minute. Mader was able to steal the ball near the top of the box and snaked her way to a shot inside from aboout 12 yards out. The shot slid about a foot left of a game-tying goal and sprawling Perry keeper Carly Sandstedt.
Less than a minute later, Perry's Ashley Dahl handled a goal kick from Sandstedt and found the back of the net from about 30 yards out to give the Pumas an insurance goal. Game over.
"Defensively, I thought we did a good job keeping (Mader) in check," Jason Dunn said. "The other night we gave up goals to Sandra Day O'Connor's top three scorers. She (Mader) was going to get her chances, but keeping her from scoring was part of what we wanted to do."
Basha finished a section-winning season 19-3-1. The Lady Bears posted 17 shutouts and and easily had the best record in school history.
"We had a good year," Johnson said. "Heck, 17 shoutouts. I don't think I'll see that again. ... If Perry continues to fight and battle they are good enough to beat anyone in the tournament."