On Wednesday afternoon at Campo Verde High School, No. 10 Arcadia beat No. 7 Queen Creek, 4-0, in the first round of the Division II girls soccer state tournament, thanks largely to the play of Senior Tianna Stewart.
From the moment the game started it was obvious Stewart would make an impact. In the first half Stewart routinely got in front of the Bulldog defense and got looks at the goal, but Queen Creek goalie Amanda Parker played a good first half covering the net and made the saves.
In the second half Stewart finally broke through. Two minutes into the half, she again raced ahead of the Bulldog defense and shot from about the 10 yard line at midfield. The shot bounced off the outstretched arms of Parker and into the corner of the net.
"We worked really hard as a team and just kept getting unlucky in the first half." Stewart said. "Within the first five minutes of the second half our team started scoring and we played much better."
Just two minutes after Stewart's first goal Rachel DiTullio scored on a penalty kick after being grabbed in the box by a Queen Creek defender, and a quick 2-0 Titans' lead.
Stewart was not done. She had a couple more opportunities at shots, but Parker made back-to-back saves at about the 15-minute mark of the second half.
Then with about 10 minutes left in the game, Maddy Schneider assisted Stewart's second goal of the game and a 3-0 Arcadia lead.
The Bulldogs season ended with an 11-2 overall record (not including tournaments).
"They capitalized on their opportunities and were the more aggressive team." Queen Creek coach Stephanie Yazwa said.
Stewart ended her stellar night with her third goal of the game, this one again coming on a run-out. The goal came with eight minutes left in the second half, and with Arcadia firmly in control, Stewart sat out the rest of the game.
"I thought we were pretty evenly matched early on, when you play a new team it's about learning who you're playing and vice versa," Arcadia coach Daniel Polan said. "It took us to long to get into our game today, but we had a lot of good chances in the first half and broke through in the second half. I have been counting on Tianna for three years and she is a senior this year and has always taken care of business. She had a hat trick tonight and I am glad she is on our team."
The Titans face No. 15 Tucson Sabino on Saturday at 2 p.m. in the quarterfinals. Sabino upset No. 2 Flagstaff in a shootout.
"Queen Creek is a good team and it was nice to see how our defense responded," Polan said. "We have not played teams of their caliber very many times this season."