Defending champion Desert Vista continued its defensive mastery in state tournament play to advance to the big-school title game for the third year in a row.
An own goal and one on a breakaway in a three-minute span of the second half on Wednesday gave No. 5 Desert Vista a 2-0 victory over No. 9 Corona del Sol in a 6A semifinal contest at Campo Verde High School
Counting the semis and title game last year, Desert Vista has posted five consecutive shutouts in postseason. The Thunder blanked Desert Mountain and Hamilton last year, respectively, and have knocked off Rincon, Sandra Day O'Connor and Corona with clean sheets. Desert Vista improved to 21-3-1 and faces Xavier, a 2-0 winner over Corona del Sol in the other semifinal. Desert Vista and Xavier meet Saturday's at 2:30 p.m. at Campo Verde. Corona del Sol ended the year 16-7. Desert Vista was runner-up to Highland in 2015 to start its current three-year jaunt to the title match.
Corona did a good job fending off possession-minded Desert Vista in the first half with good defense throughout the half and very few good chances. Desert Vista broke through in the 50th minute as a scrum in the box at Corona's end led to the Aztecs knocking the ball in. The closest player to the ball for Desert Vista was Isabella Glavin and she got credit for the goal.
Three minutes later midfielder Corey Zaremba expoded through the middle of Corona's defense and tallied easily one-on-one with keeper Jordan Freese.
Corona, which played back most of the match, rarely got leading scorer and junior standout Olivia Nguyen many opportunities. Desert Vista's defense was tough and possession in the front third for Corona was rare with the Thunder's strong back row.