Mingus girls struggle to finish in shootout loss to improved 'Devils
For Page girls soccer coach Todd Glasenapp, the season could end right now and he'd walk away satisfied.
Glasenapp's Sand Devils, a second-year program, scored a monumental win Saturday in Cottonwood, stunning Mingus Union in a shootout.
Page didn't win a single game in its inaugural season but won its first-ever Grand Canyon Region contest in its first try this year. The game moved to a shootout when 80 minutes of regulation and 20 minutes of overtime couldn't break a 1-1 tie.
"This was a real thriller ... easily out biggest win ever," Glasenapp said minutes after senior Kristin Davis sealed the victory with her shootout goal. "We were 0-16 last year, and our best game was losing by two here (against Mingus). The kids have really dedicated themselves to getting better."
While Page is much improved (5-5-1 record), Mingus Union finds itself again asking the "what if" questions. The Marauders dominated the game on several fronts – outshooting the Sand Devils about 30-4 according to Mingus stat keepers – but couldn't take advantage of their many chances.
Sarah Heath had the Marauders' only goal, netting a shot 17 minutes into the first half on an assist from Jamie Bodam.
"I'm really proud of the girls. They are doing a lot of things right," said Mingus coach Cade Densmore. "We had the opportunities – it was there for the taking. We just couldn't finish. We put I don't know how many crosses into the side netting (of the goal)."
Page's Emily Robinson tied the score with 17:33 left in the second half. Heath had a breakaway about six minutes later but her shot went wide right. Jill Ferreira had a direct kick from about 30 yards away – one of her specialties – with four minutes left in regulation but sent the ball just inches over the top bar.
Both teams missed their first shot of the shootout (Marauder Brenna Winslow made a great diving save). Page made its second, but Mingus hit the top bar with its attempt. Salem Kamps pulled the Marauders even with her goal, but Page answered right back to take a 2-1 lead.
The next two kickers missed, and Heath tied it 2-2 with her bouncer off the top bar. Davis for Page, the fifth and final kicker, missed her initial attempt, but officials ruled that the Marauder keeper had left her line too soon.
Davis converted her second try to the left side and the Sand Devils trotted off as the victors.
"Soccer is an interesting game," Densmore said. "You have to be able to do a whole bunch of things well. We shot the ball, but we didn't finish. There's a difference. We basically made their goal keeper look awesome."
Despite the stinging loss, Densmore remains confident in his bunch. A state playoff berth and even the league championship is still within reach. Flagstaff visits on Thursday, and the Marauders will conclude league play at Coconino on Saturday and at Sinagua next week.
"If we can fix that one part, some other teams in the region will be surprised," Densmore said. "We are definitely the most underrated team, by far. We'll be ready. The girls really want it."