CHANDLER - The Mingus girls' soccer team lost 1-0 to the Sentinels of Seton Catholic HS in the second round of the Division III state tournament Saturday afternoon at Seton Catholic HS in Chandler.
Marauder striker Torey Braly returned to the lineup, but was not 100 percent. Her breakaway speed quelled by a still-healing sprained knee and a bulky brace, Braly probably came back sooner than she should have, but her desire to help her team forced her to play.
The lone score of the game came in the first half. Some people said the first half was one of the Marauders' worst of the season. Without center midfielder Natally Escamilla, it took a while for the Marauders to find their stride.
Escamilla played exceptional all year, but was sick the day prior and did not attend school. That meant she was not permitted to play in the game.
The center midfield position is crucial. Controlling the middle of the field allows teams to possess the ball, and teams possessing the ball longer have a better chance to score.
Without Escamilla, head coach Buddy Rhodes had to shift players around and the Marauders didn't look as sharp as they normally do.
The second half was much better for Mingus.
Rhodes moved shutdown defenders Delaney Scanlan and Ana Guerrero into attacking positions with time winding down in the second half, and it almost resulted in a goal.
Mingus threatened to score for the last 15 minutes of the game. The Sentinels desperately defended their net, but couldn't stop Mingus from creating opportunities.
With one minute left, Dalis Sealey broke away down the left side of the field and was taken down in the penalty box. Marauder supporters felt it should have been a PK, but the ref called the ball out off Seton resulting in a corner.
All the pressure mounting, Sealey sent a nice corner cross that Scanlan got a head on. The ball bounced in front of the goal and McKenzie Mabery put her head on it and the ball bounced off the cross bar.
Mingus had another attempt bounce off the cross bar and the Sentinels escaped overtime by inches.
"They were the better team today," said Rhodes.
They were also lucky.