Some frustration and a little perseverance has Coronado in its first state soccer championship match.
After a goal in the 72nd minute gave Coronado a 2-1 win over Douglas in the Division III semifinals on Tuesday at Arcadia H.S., the third-seeded Dons (14-1) will face Phoenix Cortez on Friday at 7 p.m. at Campo Verde in the title match. Cortez beat Fountain Hills, 1-0, in the second semifinal on Tuesday.
"If we just didn't make mistakes we'd get a score eventually," Dons coach Mike Tsorin said. "They worked really hard. I'm just really happy and happy for the school."
For Coronado, Jose Medina was the hero by being a little stubborn.
Jesse Garcia got a great pass up the left sideline to Medina, who reached the box in control and fired a shot at Douglas goalkeeper Rene Moran that he stopped, but Medina got the rebound with his teammates now in range.
"Everybody was hoping I would center it but I decided to shoot and I made it so I am so happy right now," Medina said of his tiebreaking goal with 8 1/2 minutes left.
Coronado, which beat Tucson Catalina and Gilbert Christian to reach the penultimate stage, may have gotten a little lucky in drawing the Bulldogs, a No. 7 seed who upset No. 2 Phoenix Northwest Christian in overtime on Saturday.
Douglas wasn't any bigger than Coronado and seemed to have a hard time getting its offense in gear.
However, the Bulldogs (12-3) dominated possession in the first half until the Dons turned their fortunes in the second half. They pushed up front with Garcia and Miguel Gonzalez after they weathered the Bulldog's "storm" of the first 40 minutes.
But frustration set in for Coronado after it hit either the crossbar or post several times in the first half. Even better opportunities came in the second half but not getting the lead.
"We're a young team," Medina said. "We played nervous, but everything came out alright. We won."
"There is frustration but we just have to calm down and play our game," said Erick Barrera, who scored the first Coronado goal.
In spite of the missed chances in the first half, Coronado continued to push with Barrera and Reuben Balverde working with Garcia and Gonzalez. Garcia had perhaps the best chance when he had a great shot on goal in the 58th minute that Moran stopped to keep the game tied.
"We had a little less possession than we wanted but we had the ball when it counted," Tsorin said.
Douglas struck first when Antonio Orduna used his powerful flip throw-in to perfection. His throw was fumbled by Coronado goalkeeper Victor Perez and Douglas forward Mario Gastellum shot with his left foot past Perez from about 10 yards out in the fourth minute.
Coronado tied it 2 1/2 minutes later. Balverde took a shot that went off the crossbar and Barrera fired the rebound past Moran to tie it in the seventh minute.
"We've been practicing those little plays where we take along the side and pass it back and we kind of look for it there," Barrera said. "I was in the right place at the right time."