Division I Boys Soccer State Championship
Who: No. 4 Hamilton vs. No. 6 Brophy
When: 6 p.m. Saturday
Where: Campo Verde High School (3870 S. Quartz St., Gilbert)
Outlook: A highly-charged re-match of last year's state championship match, won 1-0 by Brophy on a late goal. Both teams are pretty different overall in terms of personnel this time around, but a repeat of last year's strong performances is likely. Everyone put Marc Kelly's Brophy squad as better than a No. 6 seed when the tournament began - and the Broncos have been - but not without some late fortune: An overtime win against Gilbert and a goal in the final minute of overtime against Tolleson in the semifinals.
Both GW goals were scored by Riggs Lennon, the talented-but-sometimes enigmatic junior who has 50 goals and will be the center of Hamilton's attention on Saturday. Huskies coach Nick Markette was quick to point out the players around Lennon are threats in their own right offensively: David Lane, Chad Ahrensdorf (who plays on Markette's club team), Ian Poblete and Clarence Clark have all played well this tournament.
The Huskies have Daniel Arrubla, who scored four goals in the semifinal match and has the single-season school record. But he's not a burner like Lennon can be, Arrubla instead relies on quick touches and passing to get chances. Six other Huskies have at least six goals this season and Hamilton's lineup is young.
Experience is a wash, as Brophy won it all in 2011, and Hamilton is on the big stage for a third consecutive season, but has never won a boys soccer championship. It's also the second consecutive season both Hamilton programs made the final match, though Brophy has won four consecutive meetings against Hamilton.
Mark Heller is the East Valley Tribune sports editor. He can be reached at email@example.com or (480) 898-6576.