By CHRISTIAN MORTENSEN
With only two games remaining in the regular season, the Pima Community College women’s soccer team have put themselves in an ideal situation heading into the season finale and regional tournament.
Only the top six teams in the region are invited to the regional tournament, with the top two seeds both receiving a bye before the semifinal round.
Currently the Aztecs, 13-4-1 on the season and winners of five straight matches, sit in second place in the region and would get a bye in the tournament and a home game in the semifinal if the regular season ended today.
Pima has a massive game Oct. 19 against Arizona Western College in Yuma, which most likely will decide who will get second place in the region (and the bye in the tournament). Arizona Western currently sits in third place in the region at 12-3-3.
Oct. 12: Pima CC 8, Glendale Community College 0
In their final home game of the year, the Aztecs defeated Glendale CC 8-0 to finish with a 7-3 record at Kino this season.
It was a dominant performance for the Aztecs from the start, as they had the lead right away when Hernandez scored in the opening minute.
Pima went on to score five more goals in the first half to earn a 6-0 halftime lead. Hernandez had four goals to bring her total to 21 on the season.
In a second half in which their bench played most of the game, the Aztecs added two more goals from Daelyn Mayer and Perla Blanco to bring the score to where it finished at 8-0.
After the match, Hernandez laid out the team’s goals for the remainder of the season, “We have two games left in the regular season and we are aiming to keep our second place in the region so we can be set up well in the regional tournament,” she said, “going to Florida for nationals is our ultimate goal.”
Oct. 10: Pima CC 2, Chandler-Gilbert Community College 0
In the second match of the year between two of the top teams in the region, the Aztecs were able to defeat the Chandler-Gilbert Coyotes 2-0.
In their first match against Chandler-Gilbert the two sides drew 0-0.
It was a dream start for the Aztecs at Kino, as they had an early lead when sophomore forward Jahmonique Smith scored in just the 6th minute. It was her eleventh goal of the season. The Aztecs could have scored more goals early on as they were dominant in the first half and hit the crossbar on multiple occasions, but despite their dominance the sides went into halftime 1-0.
It was much of the same in a very physical second half and Alexis Hernandez capped the victory for the Aztecs when she scored to make it 2-0 in the 66th minute. It was a sublime chip over the keeper’s head. Pima were able to see out the remaining 24 minutes to improve to 12-4-1.
Oct. 7: Pima CC 2, GateWay Community College 1 (OT)
Returning home after two road matches, the Aztecs defeated a resurgent GateWay CC side 2-1 in overtime to improve to 11-4-1 on the season.
Pima easily dispatched of GateWay 3-0 in Phoenix earlier this year, so the Aztecs were surprised to find themselves trailing 1-0 in the 12th minute at Kino, when GateWay were the team to open the scoring. It could have been worse for Pima too, as in their worst half of the season they got lucky when the referee missed a blatant handball in the Aztecs box in the 27th minute, which if called would have awarded GateWay a penalty.
There was no call and the sides went into halftime 1-0.
Pima came out playing better soccer in the 2nd half and came close to equalizing on multiple occasions, but with only 15 minute left in the game and the scoreboard still reading 1-0 in favor of GateWay, it seemed the Aztecs were going to be shocked by the Geckos.
But freshman Kylee Martin came up huge for Pima when she scored a stunning goal from 35 yards out to level the score in the 77th minute. It was her second goal of the season and sent the two sides to overtime when neither team could score for the remainder of regulation.
The overtime wouldn’t last long as Alexis Hernandez again came up clutch for the Aztecs when she scored in the 93rd minute to win it for Pima. It was Hernandez’s 2nd game winning overtime goal this season.
After the come from behind victory head coach Kendra Veliz said, “it feels good to know we can not play our best and still grind out a victory. We have a had a lot of games in a row and I feel like that fatigue effected us a little bit today.”
Oct. 5: Pima CC 3, Scottsdale Community College 1
Playing on the road for a consecutive match, Pima won their second straight game when they defeated Scottsdale CC by a score of 3-1.
Sophomore midfielder Aspen Kinzie opened the scoring for the Aztecs when she scored in the 11th minute to net her first goal of the season. Scottsdale leveled the score in the 24th minute, but the sides were only tied for 11 minutes before freshman Paola Rueda-Flores restored the Aztecs lead in the 35th minute.
Kinzie scored again in the 72nd minute and Pima were able to ride a strong second half performance from sophomore goalie Tara Kase to see off the Artichokes and sweep the season series.
Oct. 3: Pima CC 2, Cochise College 1
Coming off their loss to Phoenix College, Pima got their season back on track when they defeated Cochise College, 2-1.
In the second match of the year between the two sides, Pima rode two goals from Hernandez to get the win and sweep the season series over the Apaches.
Hernandez scored in the 2nd minute, off an assist from sophomore midfielder Emily Gallagher to give Pima an early lead. When she doubled the lead in the 59th minute she all but ensured the win for the Aztecs.
Cochise did manage to find the net in the 71st minute but wouldn’t score again as Pima were able to hold the lead that Hernandez had secured. With the win the Aztecs moved to 9-4-1 on the season.