Tough week for Marauder soccer teams<br>
Greenway was ranked eighth by The Arizona Republic at the start of the season. Centennial is currently ranked seventh. The Lady Marauders played Thunderbird on Saturday (after press time), and will have one more game Monday, either at 11 a.m. or 1 p.m. depending on how Saturday’s action played out.
The Mingus boys, who drubbed Notre Dame 5-0 on Monday, did hold their own through most of their duel with the defending 4A champs the next afternoon. Cactus scored off a set play 45 seconds into the match and netted the second goal in the second half on a free kick just outside the penalty box.
Other than that, the Marauder defense stood its ground well, surrendering just 14 shots on goal while taking eight.
"The boys were really down after the loss, particularly since Cactus was the only team to score on us in the second period," said MUHS coach Duane Badger. "[But] I feel that Mingus performed well against the No. 2 team in the state [Cactus’ current ranking]. We now see a few things that we need to work on before we get to the playoffs.
"I think that if the team can absorb the loss, learn from it, and be better prepared for our end-of-season push, taking the loss could have been just the thing we needed to encourage our concentration."
Larry Badger did a solid job in the midfield marking Cactus’ talented center-mid player, coach Badger said. Brady Flummer had a solid game in the net, batting some balls out of danger in the midst of crowds.
Flummer’s vision got blocked on Cactus’ second goal. The Marauders had formed a wall about 15 yards in front of the goal after a penalty, and the Cobras just blasted a shot by it on their free kick. The ball came whizzing by before Flummer could react.
As for the girls, Mingus showed marked improvement from the Greenway game Wednesday to the Centennial contest, coach Pam Lusk said. The Marauders played Centennial to a 0-0 tie through most of the first half before giving up two goals late.
Centennial added its other two goals early in the second half, but from that point Mingus picked up the pace again.
In the Marauders’ defense, the injury and sickness bug made another round through the team this week. Starting goalie Emma Canning missed the Centennial game after spraining a couple of fingers.
Stopper Brady Rhodes turned an ankle against Greenway, while teammate Sharon Langford – a goal scoring threat – sprained hers against Centennial. Others, like leading scorer Aileen Blair and defensive stalwart Ashley Christy, were sick part of the week and missed game action.
Throw in exams and the emotional toll of learning that a fellow Mingus student had died earlier in the week in a hiking accident, and it’s easy to see why the Marauders were out-of-sync at times during the tournament’s first two rounds.
"Some people were totally exhausted, totally worn out," coach Lusk said.
Anna Hammerle gave a stellar effort against Greenway, using aggressive moves to possess or steal the ball in the midfield. Canning made some nice saves, including the hard-hit shot right at her that caused the sprained fingers.
"Each girl in that game had their moments of good play," coach Lusk said. "But as a team, we just couldn’t put it together."
Sweeper Sarah Dixon played solid defense in the Centennial game. "She had some good headers and wasn’t playing afraid," Lusk said. Backup keeper Nicole Zwart, a JV call-up, played well in her first varsity action of the season. She, too, had some "great saves," coach Lusk said.
Both Mingus teams will have some time to rest, heal up and get recharged. School’s out for the holidays, and games won’t resume until school does in early January.
"Now that we have some days without games, we can focus in on some of the refining that we need to take care of in order to be ready for region play," coach Badger said.
On the JV front, the Mingus girls blanked Tempe McClintock 4-0 on Monday to improve to 2-0-1. Joe Rongo coaches the JV Lady Marauders.