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Mon, Feb. 17

Undermanned Mingus boys soccer falls at home to Mesquite

Mingus senior Eduardo Lazaro shoots against Mesquite during the Marauders’ 2-1 loss at home on Wednesday. VVN/James Kelley

Mingus senior Eduardo Lazaro shoots against Mesquite during the Marauders’ 2-1 loss at home on Wednesday. VVN/James Kelley

Mingus Union boys soccer dropped their last game before region play starts, 2-1 to Gilbert Mesquite.

The No. 22 Marauders (3-2) took a 1-0 lead in the 18th minute, but the No. 13 Wildcats equalized about eight minutes later and scored the game winner in the 33rd minute.

“It’s a tough loss,” Mingus head coach Luis Hernandez said. “On paper we’re a much better team, we just couldn’t execute. A lot of the small stuff we just weren’t executing; first touch, passes, easy pass, shots. We just weren’t creating any soccer. We gotta give credit to Mesquite, they came out to play us with everything they had and they did, they challenged every ball, they played with their physique, they have really good players, a really good coach and they just played better than us, the whole game.”

Junior midfielder Emmanuel Jaimes scored Mingus Union’s goal from outside the 18-yard box.

“He just created the play and took a shot and it went in,” Hernandez said.

The Marauders out shot the Wildcats after Mesquite went ahead and had more chances but their attempt to tie the game came up short.

“That’s what we practice for, we practice in rhythm so we can execute those in important games like today (Wednesday) was just not our game,” Hernandez said. “It was not our game and just didn’t execute the chances we had and that’s what affected us at the end of the game.”

The Marauders came into the game short handed.

“We have quite a few sick players, I think that’s what affected us (Wednesday),” Hernandez said. “It’s a long season, so it happens, people get sick, people get injured, bruised, tired, so we’re just in that part of the season/ We’re in that middle part where we just have to get together and have more days off etc. to get healthy.”

With the loss, Mingus Union slipped out of the top 20 in Thursday’s rankings. They had debuted at No. 15 in the first winter soccer rankings of the school year, that was released on Tuesday and rose to 14th before the game on Wednesday at home.

“It’s early, we’re ranked 15th without any regional play, it’s gonna be moving up and down a lot but with our quality that we have, I think we can get a bit higher, we can get a lower spot,” Hernandez said on Wednesday. “We want to host a playoff game, so we’re working for that I like where we’re sitting I thought we would be at least top 20 and we’re ranked 15th, so it’s good.”

The state tournament is 16 teams, with the top eight starting the postseason directly in the tourney and the region winners getting automatic bids to the postseason. Those ranked ninth through 24 start in the play-in round, with No. 9 through 16 hosting, except for region champions ranked outside the top 16, they would host a play-in game.

Last year Mingus Union reached the play-in round but lost on the road.

The current rankings feature four Grand Canyon teams in a postseason position, with a couple more on the bubble. Flagstaff is No. 6, Bradshaw Mountain 12th, Coconino No. 19, Lee Williams No. 26, Prescott 30th and Mohave No. 38.

“It’s really tough, Grand Canyon Region’s always difficult to play in, I think it’s one of the hardest in the state, we’re just all so even and our first game is at Mohave, with the travel it’s going to be a long ride, it’s gonna be a long game and hope we’re ready for it, I hope we’re ready for it, we want to come back with the win,” Hernandez said.

Mingus Union opened the semester with a 2-0 win over Buckeye Youngker on Jan. 9. Senior forward Eduardo Lazaro and Jaimes scored.

“We could have beat them by way much more, as I said our execution isn’t there, the goals weren’t there Youngker had a few chances as well on us, our keeper (senior Abel Dalgleish) just made really good saves,” Hernandez said. “But last week was a pretty good game as well.”

Hernandez said a lot of players have impressed this semester so far, like junior forward Jason Quiroz, junior midfielder Ivan Udave, junior forward Domanic Renik, senior midfielder Angel De La Cruz, Lazaro and senior defender Chance Densmore.

“Players have stepped up a lot, Jason Quiroz has stepped up a lot, a junior, Ivan Udave stepped up a lot, he’s also a junior,” Hernandez said. “You have the good quality players like Domanic, Angel, Eddie, Chance, they’ve been doing really good, so we’ve just got to keep it up, keep that progress going up.”

UP NEXT

The Marauders travel to No. 38 Mohave on Friday. Their next home game is Wednesday against No. 30 Prescott at 5 p.m.

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