FLAGSTAFF - With five goals from five different players, the Marauders girls' soccer team rolled past the Tanque Verde Hawks, 5-0, in the first round of the Division III playoffs Wednesday afternoon at Flagstaff High School.
Alex Pee was back in action for the Mingus defense, but senior standout striker Torey Braly still had some unwanted lacticity in her sprained knee, so Braly sat out in the hopes of returning sometime down the line in the playoffs.
Nataly Escamilla scored the first goal off a set piece from about 30 yards out in the fourth minute. She struck the ball with accuracy and power from the left side of the field to the right side of the goal.
"That was probably the prettiest goal I've scored this season. I practice that shot a lot, and I just put it far right," said Escamilla.
Dalis Sealey scored the second goal in the 23rd minute. Gabi Guerrero pressured the keeper on a through ball. An unsure Tanque Verde defender ran alongside Guerrero, presumably hoping the keeper would run to the ball, but they lacked communication and Guerrero controlled the ball away from a diving keeper.
Guerrero ended up with an easy shot at the goal, but she uncharacteristically missed the ball almost entirely, and Sealey cleaned up the mess going top shelf for a score.
The half ended with the Marauders up 2-0.
Striking quickly to start the second half, Haley Backus volleyed a corner kick from Sealey in the 42nd minute.
Keeping the pressure on the Hawks, Ashley Roth took on the Tanque Verde defense by herself in the 46th minute. Roth dribbled past defenders and beat them with the ball at her feet to create a one on one with the keeper. She capitalized with a score.
The fifth goal of the match was icing on the cake for defender Delaney Scanlan in the 63rd minute. Sealey found Scanlan open attacking on the left side of the field. Scanlan had plenty of open space from 25 yards out, so she took a touch and sent the ball on a rope expertly placed into the net. Scanlan has scored like that before, but that goal ranks near the top for her this season.
"I think the way we played today speaks very highly of our team. We lost our target player, so now we've got a lot of people scoring. Hopefully we can continue on doing the same," said Mingus head coach Buddy Rhodes.
The Marauders now play Saturday at noon against Seton Catholic Sentinels at Seton Catholic High School in Chandler.
This game is where Mingus can make a statement. It's really not fair that Seton Catholic gets to host this second-round playoff game.
Mingus should be ranked higher than fifth, and the game should be at a neutral site, but if the girls keep playing like they have, it won't matter where the game is played; they'll get the victory.
Notes: Dalis Sealey scored a goal and tallied two assists for the Marauders. Mingus keeper Taylor Brott didn't see much action, but when she got the opportunity to drop kick, she sent the ball booming down the field. One was so strong it resulted in a goal kick for the Hawks.