The No. 11-ranked Queen Creek High School girls soccer team defeated No. 10 Mesquite 2-1 Tuesday, Jan. 10, in a region matchup at home.
The Bulldogs lost a heartbreaker on Monday night to region-leading Campo Verde 1-0. Head coach Abel Corral said that game helped to light a fire under the team on Tuesday, knowing they needed a win to stay in the playoff hunt.
“Campo was a top team in the region and we were right there with them, but ended up losing,” said Coach Corral. “Mesquite was ranked above us this game also so it was a big game for us. We needed to win to have a chance at playoffs and it was a big win. The girls deserved it, they played well and this puts us in the top 10 in the state right now.”
Queen Creek took control early on in the game and had at least 20 shots on goal, with a lot of those coming in the second half.
The first score of the game came from Queen Creek on a shot from senior forward Krista Cross. Cross beat two defenders and then dribbled past the Mesquite goalie to find the back of the net.
Junior midfielder Brook Baldwin was credited with the assist, giving her 19 on the season to tie her for second in assists in the whole state.
Queen Creek held the score after the first, but Mesquite came into the second half with a sense of urgency. The Wildcats took advantage of one of their few openings at the Bulldog net, scoring just four minutes into the half and tying the game up at 1-1.
Queen Creek answered with a barrage of corner kicks and shots on the Mesquite goal. Finally, with just over 10 minutes to go in the game Cross and Baldwin connected again for the score. Cross sent a kick in from the right post and Baldwin was there to tap it in.
Mesquite looked to answer on its next possession, but Queen Creek’s goalkeeper, Olivia Kempf, was there to protect the lead for the Bulldogs.
With the clock winding down, the Dogs continued to put pressure on the Mesquite defenders and to hold the 2-1 win.
With the victory, Queen Creek should move up to a top-10 ranking in 5A, and with just four games left in the season, that spot could guarantee the team a spot in the state playoffs.
“I think the game plan we came out with worked very well,” said Coach Corral. “We kept possession. We broke down their defense. We gave up a goal on a silly miscommunication, but created an opportunity at the end to get the game winner.”
Queen Creek improves to 14-4 on the season and 1-1 in region play. Come the end of January, teams seeded 1-8 and the eight conference play-in winners (teams ranked 9-24 will compete in the play-in games) will advance to the state playoff bracket.
The Dogs will play at Shadow Ridge Tuesday, Jan. 17, and then play at home on Friday, Jan. 20, against Vista Grande for senior night.
The last regular season and region game will be on the following Tuesday, Jan. 24, at Williams Field.
For more information, visit the school’s website at www.qchsathletics.org. Follow qchathletics on Facebook, Instagram and twitter for those game results and tournament seedings.
Editor’s note: Jamie Morris is the staff news writer for Queen Creek High School.