Marana beat Desert View 3-0 Monday night to set up a 5A Sonoran battle against Flowing Wells on Tuesday night. Marana (3-0 in region play) was ranked 10th coming in and Flowing Wells (3-0) was on the edge at 24. In essence, Flowing Wells has to beat Marana to secure the playoff spot that comes with a region title.
Tiger head coach Dan Tarquin credits his defense for getting the team to a safe position heading into the playoffs. The Tigers have given up five goals in 22 matches with only two given up since Dec. 16.
“We had the hardest schedule last year and it was rough-going,” Tarquin explained. “But we knew coming in things would be different this year. We knew we should be able to do well. In fact, we got better after every game in November and December.”
Sophomore Ainsley Swanson put Marana up 1-0 in the 6th minute off of a corner kick delivered by senior Maggie Rogers. Freshman Cody Lynn (Swanson) made it 2-0 in the 24th and senior Hannah Green (Lynn) made it 3-0 in the 37th.
While things are looking up for the Tigers in region play, such is not the case for No. 39 Desert View at 0-3. The Jaguars have only won eight games over the last four years and have finished ranked near the bottom, too far from playoff contention. Still, things looked a bit better this year.
Jaguar senior Yadi Ramirez is one of the top soccer players in Southern Arizona but it’s hard to notice given the circumstances. She plays club for the Tucson Soccer Academy 99 Red team and it’s a team filled with well-known players such as Isabella Solorza (Walden Grove) and Olivia Lai (Catalina Foothills).
“All of my friends get noticed like they should be,” Ramirez explained. “I’m used to playing competitive soccer but things were different when I started playing high school.”
From day one, Ramirez explains how she was called upon as a freshman to do simple things like teach her teammates how to dribble and pass. It’s an added pressure her club teammates have not had to deal with. Plus, while many of the high school teams in Tucson are staffed with top-notch coaches, Desert View has had a bumpy road.
“We didn’t have a head coach for the first four weeks this year,” Ramirez said. “We were coaching ourselves all over again until Montes (Rangel) came in.
Ramirez has a spot waiting for her at Pima when she is done.
It is doubtful Marana will be able to move into the top eight to avoid the play-in tournament but the Tigers are set to host the first home playoff match in school history on Thursday, Jan. 26. The AIA soccer bracket show for the 16-team playoff is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 27.
At this point, Flowing Wells needs to claim the automatic bid that comes with a region championship so the match against Marana can be viewed as a playoff game for the Caballeros.