Riggs' right foot pushes Brophy past Gilbert in OT and into semis - East Valley Tribune: VarsityXtra

Riggs' right foot pushes Brophy past Gilbert in OT and into semis

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Posted: Saturday, February 4, 2012 6:54 pm

It happened before to Riggs Lennon, similar play, similar time, similar circumstance.

Brophy's junior scoring machine (48 goals this season) was at it again during Saturday's Division I soccer state quarterfinal match against Gilbert. He peppered the Tigers with a couple impressive shots and runs, only to be turned away by either a resilient Tigers' defense, or a couple big saves by Gilbert goalie Hayden Rus.

Gridlocked with no scoring by either team through regulation and into overtime, the left-footed Lennon, for once, went right.

A thrown-in and two subsequent deflections put the ball at his feet, and, closely marked on his dominating-left, he went right and shot past a diving Rus in the 86th minute to give Brophy a 1-0 victory.

The big-school defending-champions and No. 6-seeded Broncos will face No. 10 Tolleson in Wednesday's semifinals at 5 p.m. at Campo Verde High School.

Lennon did nearly the same thing when his late goal beat Desert Vista in last year's 5A Division I quarterfinals.

"It's the best feeling ever, especially in the state tournament playing for your school," he said.

Both schools played most of the match to a draw, and with relatively few fouls. Both schools had chances throughout regulation.

Lennon, in particular, was a marked man by the Tigers defense (and Gilbert fans). But he hit the crossbar on one shot early in the match, sailed an indirect kick over the crossbar on another attempt, and launched one from 25 yards away that curved and dipped before Rus made a diving save to his right.

That all came in the first half, and he had a couple more chances in the second half.

Gilbert, which battled injuries throughout the season but had its full contingent in the lineup for the first time in two months, had its moments.

The Tigers peppered Brophy early in the match and had a golden chance for Nathan Rice early in the second half, but his kick toward an open net off a rebound was wide.

Gilbert also had a two-minute stretch of two corner kicks and two throw-ins deep in Brophy territory.

"It wasn't for lack of opportunities, and certainly not lack of effort," said Gilbert coach Jeff Perry, who thought his team "ran out of gas," during the overtime periods. "We had them and they got theirs, but I thought we played really well defensively."

Rus made eight saves for the Tigers and "was outstanding," in the words of Brophy coach Marc Kelly.

Nate Sundermeier came back from a collision with a Tigers forward and made six saves for the shutout.

Since losing to Chaparral in overtime the second match of the season, the Broncos shutout opponents in power point matches and won a couple close matches at a nationally-competitive tournament in Florida last month.

"We're starting to win late in matches, in tight games, and it's a real sign of becoming a successful team," Kelly said.


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[Stats Courtesy of MaxPreps]