Annie Graham was the last girl standing.
She was during an upperclassmen dodge ball showdown in the Phoenix Xavier gym, when she was the only junior (guys or girls) still alive against the senior class, which led to the first "Annie Graham" chant.
She was this soccer season, when the Gators goalkeeper allowed three goals to Arizona schools, all by Gilbert Highland in the season opener.
And she was again during the state tournament, as Graham and her defense didn't allow a goal for four matches until a shootout with Phoenix Desert Vista in the 5A Division I championship.
While her teammates were trying to bury goals against red-hot Thunder goalie Hannah Fadenrecht, Graham was somewhere else.
"I don't look," she said. "I always look away. I can't watch it. I have a different pressure to deal with and my focus is one job. As long as I don't allow one in I've done my job."
The Gators won in penalty kicks for their first state title since 2002, but before the 2008 calendar flipped, Graham was the first one out. The Gators played an elite tournament in California, where they won a couple matches in shootouts, tied Sacred Heart Prep and lost, 2-0, to San Clemente.
Xavier coach Barb Chura replaced Graham with Tayler Renshaw, and the duo began splitting time.
"I made big, gaping errors and seemed to have forgotten the fundamentals of soccer," Graham said. "I didn't play well. That was a big change and everyone knew I hadn't played well. I had to prove myself all over again."
Graham turned into a brick wall when the Gators returned to Arizona.
She won her spot back and recorded 18 shutouts - which tied Graham's own school record - and the Gators only allowed six regulation goals within the state all season.
She plays with and against a couple Xavier teammates in club soccer, but the same rules apply.
"I don't let anyone score on me, so it's not a problem," she said.
Here's what else she does besides being a 4.0 student: National Honors Society, National Spanish Honors Society, Vice President of junior class and an Andre House volunteer serving food to homeless each Monday.
It's down to Stanford or Boston College for college, academics or athletics.
Graham hasn't decided, but whichever way she goes, the last school standing should consider itself pretty lucky.
"Annie can win the game for you, and that's who you want in goal," Chura said. "That's why she's been around for three years. She keeps making big saves. I'll still remember her face in 20 years. It's pure focus. It's amazing."
All-Tribune girls soccer
Name School Yr. Pos. Comment
Bianca Doller Marcos de Niza Sr. F ASU-bound skilled player scored 30 goals
Alyssa Gutierrez Gilbert Sr. F Co-offensive player of year in Fiesta
Lexie Schroeder Corona del Sol Sr. F Latest CDS forward to be Central Region player of the year
Samantha Cummings Xavier Jr. MF Did everything; MVP of state tournament despite teammate injuries
Hilary Zenuk Highland Jr. MF 13 goals and 33 assists; MVP of Fiesta Bowl and Dobson tourney
Melanie Johnston Chandler Sr. MF Arguably most talented player in E.V.; headed to Wash. St.
Jennifer Larsen Mtn. View Sr. MF 15 goals (5 game winners) and 19 assists; headed to Montana State
Jessica Petznick Xavier Sr. D Boston College-bound anchored unbeatable backline
Eryn Daniel Desert Vista Sr. D Could play anywhere; led Thunder to 5A-I title match
Chelsea Riedell Highland Sr. D Fiesta Region defensive player of the year
Annie Graham Xavier Jr. GK 18 shutouts; 6 goals allowed vs. Ariz. teams
Player of the Year: Annie Graham, Xavier
Coach of the Year: Paul Manoogian, Desert Vista
Name School Yr. Pos. Comment
Elizabeth May Arcadia Sr. F All-state and East Sky offensive player of the year
Adrianna Ferrari Notre Dame Sr. F Senior offensive catalyst for 4A-II champions
McKenna Pagel Valley Christian Jr. F 1A-3A state player of the year
Linda Rijlaarsdam Desert Ridge Sr. MF Speedster was Pima Region player of the year
Ashley Kniffen Corona del Sol Sr. MF Latest CDS forward to approach 40 points in a season
Sarah Dutton Desert Vista Sr. MF 14 goals, 9 assists for state runner-up
Alyssa Freeman Red Mtn. Sr. MF Co-offensive player of the year in E.V. Region with Larsen
Megan Rush Seton Catholic Sr. D Top sweeper in 4A-II and 4 game-winning goals
Jessica Kettelkamp Pinnacle Sr. D Best defender in 5A-II had nine goals
Kristi McIndoo Horizon Sr. D MVP of 5A-II state champions
Christie Stemple Hamilton Sr. GK 0.77 goals-against; made double-digit saves in seven matches
Arcadia: Erica Liebeman, Jr., Maddie Thorn, So., MF; Karla Varela, Jr., MF
Basha: Keshnet Miller, So., MF; Duyen Vo, Sr., D.
Chandler: Jen Johnson, Sr., M.
Corona del Sol: Hailey Hayes, Jr., GK; Stephanie Holladay, Sr., MF; Sammy Weber, So., D.
Desert Vista: Kim Grennen, Sr., MF; Carley Myers, Sr., MF; Kayla Vaughan, Sr., F.
Dobson: Sarah Fischer, Jr., D; Crystal Maynes, Sr., F; Abby Murray, Jr., MF; Adrienne Prince, Jr., GK;
Gilbert: Blair Alderson, Jr., MF; Emma Cannis, Jr., D; Laura Johnson, Sr., MF.
Hamilton: Rachel Otero, Jr., D; Samantha Weiss, Jr., F; Madison Wellcom, Jr., D.
Highland: Karisa Price, Jr., F; Mary Morhardt, Sr., MF.
Mesa: Mary Allen, Jr., D; Vanessa Bretz, Jr., MF.
Mesquite: Tara Rickenbach, Jr., MF.
Mountain Pointe: Tessa Bowie, Sr., GK; Gina Buschatzke, Jr., MF; Karen Kierstead, So., D; Jazmyn Ledford, Jr., D; Cayla Smith, Jr., F.
Mountain View: Crystal Beebe, So., MF; Regan Clifford, Sr., F; Simi Dhaliwal, So., D.
Perry: Jordan Bell, So., MF; Shelbey Stephenson, So., D.
Queen Creek: Chelsea Carew, Sr., F.
Red Mountain: Melinda Cox-Ferreras, So., D; Taylor Gonzalez, Sr., D; Delayney Riley, Jr., GK.
Seton Catholic: Colleen Amrhein, Jr., F; Molly Barlow, Sr., GK; Kelsey Rotarious, Jr., MF;
Valley Christian: Lindsey Brannon, Sr., D; Jamie Gaab, So., D; Malia Staub, Jr., GK; Lissette White, Jr., F.
Williams Field: Taylor Laubhan, Fr.
Xavier: Carmen Abella, Jr., D; Samantha Bidwill, Sr., MF; Jessica Fitzgerald, Jr., F; Chelsea Kelly, Jr., MF; Cassidy Osborne, Sr., D; Alexandria Partida, Jr., MF; Molly Quigley, Sr., MF.
It didn't come without a series of roundabouts, but after consecutive state semifinal appearances, Phoenix Xavier won its first 5A Division I state championship since 2002. The No. 2-seeded Gators were heavy favorites going into the tournament, but lost leading scorer Jessica Fitzgerald to a torn MCL in the opening-round match against Phoenix Trevor Browne, then lost forward Molly Quigley to a broken leg late in the state semifinal match against Red Mountain. Coach Barb Chura's squad needed overtime and penalty kicks in the title match against Phoenix Desert Vista, but the trio of Sam Cummings, Jessica Petznick and Annie Graham paved the way for Xavier's 1-0 (5-4 penalty kicks) win and a postseason in which the Gators didn't allow a goal in regulation.
Speaking of roundabouts, Mesa Red Mountain had its share. Early-season injuries to key players didn't help the Mountain Lions. Neither did the nine ties the team participated in through the regular season, a source of comedy for the team most of the season. But the bevy of close matches paid off when the Mountain Lions won state tournament matches against Scottsdale Desert Mountain and Chandler in overtime before they eventually fell to Xavier in the semifinals.
Scott Bemis might be building a football - and futbol - powerhouse at Scottsdale Notre Dame. He's won two consecutive 4A Division II football championships and this winter he led the Saints to a girls soccer state championship in their first title-game appearance in school history. It was another state title match that needed extra sessions, a 2-1 (3-2 penalty kicks) victory against Cottonwood Mingus.