Staff photo by Eric Lusk
FROM LEFT, McCabe, coach Grondin, coach Reamer, Reimer, Toogood, Peters and Koperniak.
For the second-straight season, the Cowboys lost in the small schools state championship game in Tucson.
On the same field.
To the same team.
By the same score.
With the same opposing player getting the winning goal.
In an eerily familiar finish that surely invoked some in Cowboy colors to hum Twilight Zone music, St. Johns hoisted the girls state championship trophy on Saturday following a 1-0 victory over Camp Verde at Udall Park.
The Cowboys had beaten the Redskins in two previous meetings this season – by convincing 2-0 and 6-2 scores – but coach Loretta Grondin’s group simply couldn’t penetrate St. Johns’ quick and swarm-like defense this time around.
Nicolette Trickey’s first-half goal held up as the Redskins became the first team to repeat as champions since the girls fall tournament began in 2000.
“I just can’t believe it,” Grondin said moments after Saturday’s contest. “Two years in a row. I just can’t believe it. I don’t know what to say.”
Even a couple days after the frustrating finish, Grondin was still at a loss to explain the surprise defeat. St. Johns didn’t play that much differently than in the earlier games when the Cowboys handled them easily, she said.
Camp Verde just seemed a step slower in most phases Saturday.
“We went directly to the hotel (after Friday’s game),” the coach said. “We got them to the field early on Saturday. I don’t know. I don’t know what the answer is. They did seem really, really tired, even at breakfast.
“I said to Mike (Reamer, assistant coach), do you think we ought to give them some coffee?”
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