QCHS boys soccer chasing undefeated season

3 games remain: away, Jan. 17, against Shadow Ridge HS; home, against Vista Grande, Jan. 18; and away, Williams Field, Jan. 23

 

The 5A No. 1-ranked Queen Creek High School boys soccer team is chasing another undefeated season, and with just three games left in the regular season, they are hopeful to achieve that goal.

Senior forward Kohlton Farrell of the Queen Creek High School boys soccer team. (Courtesy of Queen Creek High School Athletics)

Three years ago, the Bulldogs made their deepest run in state championship history, capping their perfect regular season with a perfect postseason and the school’s first state championship in boys soccer.

Two years followed with a combined record of 14-19 and the team was feeling the pressure to bounce back and prove that 2015 wasn’t a fluke.

With 14 seniors on the roster and multiple players who either experienced or watched that 2015 team, this team is firing on all cylinders and poised to make another deep run.

“This team has become a family,” said head coach Mauricio Ramirez. “It all starts with my 14 seniors and my coaching staff. Three years ago when we won that state championship a lot of those freshman saw how it happened and are now seeing that opportunity to make it happen again. But we have to be taking it one game at a time. We have to face what’s going to be in front of us before we can focus on what’s ahead.”

On Jan. 10, the team opened its five-game region play at home against Mesquite, and despite a slow start from the No. 1-ranked team, Queen Creek looked to focus on the game at hand.

The Bulldogs had control of the soccer ball a majority of the game and served a barrage of shots at the Mesquite goal. After multiple close shots in the first 20 minutes of the first half, Queen Creek was finally able to connect when senior forward Kohlton Farrell followed in a rebound for the team’s first goal.

Two more goals followed within a minute of the first, one from senior Fernando Leal and the second from senior Nick Umali.

Queen Creek scored two more goals in the first half. Junior Jesus Carrillo scored one and then Farrell scored his second on a blocked penalty-kick rebound.

The Dogs played most of the rest of their roster in the second half and picked up two more goals to equal their highest scoring game of the year with seven goals, and holding Mesquite to zero.

Ramirez gave a lot of credit to his seniors for leading the team in the game and throughout the season. Just last weekend the team won the Platinum Division of the Chandler Prep boys soccer tournament, outplaying a total 72 teams for the title.

“We’ve been working on basics, from passing, shooting, defending,” said Ramirez. “We’ve all been working hard, and it has made a huge difference with each player putting a piece of sand into that hourglass.”

The team had to rely on the basics Friday night as it faced maybe its biggest test of the season, playing region rival and No. 4-ranked Campo Verde at home.

“Mentally, we have to be strong,” said Ramirez prior to the game. “When opportunities present themselves we have to finish and make it happen for the team because (Campo) is not going to give us a lot of opportunity. We have to defend hard and work hard. Our midfielders have to pass the ball and our finishers have to close it out at the end.”

Campo Verde struck first in the game, just four minutes into the first half, heading in a free kick from just outside the box.

Queen Creek played on its heels much of the first half and still trailed with 10 minutes to go in the game, 1-0.

The Coyotes didn’t give the Bulldogs many chances, but as their defense wore down, Queen Creek finally had its opportunity to strike. With eight minutes left on the clock, seniors Umali and Farrell found space and Farrell finished at the goal to even the game at 1-1.

The game continued in a deadlock heading into and out of the first 10-minute overtime. Both teams would play a second 10-minute overtime and if still tied would end the game in a tie. Queen Creek continued to control the offensive side of the ball and four minutes in Farrell looked to capitalize.

His shot was a laser from almost midfield that struck the crossbar, shot straight up into the air and then straight back down into the goal, all while a dismayed Campo Verde goalie looked on.

The Bulldogs will have three regular season games left, including senior night on Friday, Jan. 19 against Vista Grande. State rankings and brackets will be decided after the final season game on Jan. 23.

Editor’s note: Jamie Morris is the staff news writer for Queen Creek High School. The Bulldogs will play Shadow Ridge High School starting at 6 p.m. at Shadow Ridge, 10909 N. Perryville Road in Surprise; Vista Grande starting at 6 p.m. Jan. 19 on their home turf at 22149 E. Ocotillo Road in Queen Creek; and Williams Field High School starting at 6 p.m. Jan. 23 at Williams Field, 2076 S. Higley Road in Gilbert. For more information, visit the team page on the QCHS Athletics’ website.

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