Jeff Perry didn’t get the amount of execution he wanted, but he got enough from his Gilbert Tigers boys soccer team Tuesday night.
Gilbert scored once in each half to post a 2-0 win at Phoenix Mountain Pointe in an opening-round match of the Class 5A-I state tournament.
In a typical match between a No. 8 seed and No. 9 seed, neither team dominated and the score could have very well been reversed.
“We have had great energy and intensity all season,” said Perry, whose team had lost to the Pride, 1-0, earlier this season. “Our trouble comes in our execution. We didn’t have very good execution tonight, either, but fortunately we finished a couple of plays.”
The lower-seeded Tigers (13-8) had goals from Storm Lilly and Daniel Kurish to advance. They will meet Fiesta Region rival Gilbert Highland in a quarterfinal match at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Tempe Sports Complex.
Highland, top-seeded and defending state champions, beat Gilbert twice in the regular season, 3-0 and 4-1.
“I look forward to the Highland game,” said goalie Brian Davies, who made 11 saves Tuesday. “Those are the best games. We know we just have to keep playing our game.”
Gilbert’s game against Mountain Pointe seemed to be one of waiting for an opportunity and making the most of it.
Lilly started the scoring by beating Pride goalie Kris Lounsbury to a free ball near the edge of the goal box. Lilly was able to head the ball over Lounsbury and the ball took one big bounce and found the net with 13:08 to play in the first half.
Gilbert made it 2-0 on Meier’s shot from about 30 feet away. He tucked the ball inside the right post with 28:04 remaining in the match.
“I thought they had the better chances for a good stretch of both halves,” Perry said. “We were on our heels in the first half.”
The Pride had a few scoring chances in the first half, but Davies was up to the challenge. And he had his eyes focused on Brandon Hansen.
“That Hansen kid is so good you have to know where he is at,” said Davies, who made a pair of stellar saves off Hansen shots in the second half.
“Anytime you can make some diving saves you get confidence and the team rallies around you. My team rallied around me.”