The Division II girls soccer state tournament brackets said it was a matchup between No. 7 Peoria Sunrise Mountain and No. 10 Notre Dame, but there was no mention of a third opponent.
While the chill, stiff breeze was not bending the corner flags too much, it was enough to cause problems for teams defending the east zone.
That was the case for the Mustangs (15-2-1) in the second half and first overtime, as the Saints scored the tying and go-ahead goals in a 4-1 overtime win Tuesday in the first round of the Division II state tournament at Glendale Apollo High School.
“When we saw the effect the wind had on our girls in the first half and the trouble they had in reading the wind - if someone came out and watched us play the first half you’d thought we were no better than a jv team - our girls couldn’t judge the wind,” said Notre Dame coach Gary Gregory. “ I felt their girls would have difficulty playing against the wind as well.”
Senior Brylee Hawkins put the Mustangs up 1-0 inside the 25th minute with a header off a free kick from freshman Bailey Froysland. Sunrise Mountain kept that lead as it pressured Notre Dame in the offensive zone and did a good job clearing the defensive zone. They held the Saints to five shots on goal in the first half.
Gregory said his second half adjustments consisted of shadowing Hawkins and flooding the offensive zone with bodies.
“We marked on No. 4. We switched around and keyed on her,” Gregory said. “She was as good with someone hanging on her back as she was in space. The transition was play defense at the end of the first half, mark 4 after they scored and play a 3-5-2 set with a man responsible for (Hawkins) at all times.”
The setup worked offensively and frustrated Sunrise Mountain, which peaked when a Mustang defender was called for a take down inside the box. The Saints leading scorer, Madison Reisdorf, went in after she served her time for a yellow card and took the penalty kick. The senior forward went right with the kick and Mustang goalkeeper Kemrie Nash deflected the attempt. However, the rebound came in front of the net and Reisdorf poked it past the Mustang senior for the game-tying goal.
“That penalty kick was a little deflating,” said Sunrise Mountain coach Shauna Johnson. “It’s always going to be when you’re up 1-0 and suddenly there is a PK, that changes momentum. But Notre Dame is a good team. They came out fired up in the second half - sometimes being down 1-0 gives you that extra push.”
The Saints kept up their pressure through the second half and it continued into the first overtime period. They had three shots on goal and kept the pressure in Sunrise Mountain’s defensive zone before freshman Dana Gordon poked a shot that sailed over the defender and bounced high past Nash for the go-ahead goal with 46 seconds remaining in the first overtime period.
“We made some adjustments and put some girls in new places to open things up a bit more, we were just pushed out of our rhythm,” Johnson said. “That’s why we play two halves of soccer. I wish it would end after the first half.
Stephanie Sapp and Reisdorf added goals in the second overtime to seal the win and earn a chance to face No. 2 Flagstaff Saturday.
Notre Dame had a chance to put the game away with less than a minute remaining in regulation. The Saints flooded the box on a corner kick and appeared to have scored the winning goal, but the referee called a hand ball with 29 seconds left in the regular time.