Spend some time with the Fountain Hills girls soccer team, and you’ll realize a common theme – everything is fast. They run fast and like to score on the pitch. They even think fast.
And while a lot of people believe the old adage that speed kills, apparently it also wins a state championship.
Top-seeded Fountain Hills used its speed to blow past No. 3 Goodyear Trivium Prep and repeat as 3A Conference state champions with a 2-0 win Saturday at Gilbert Williams Field.
“That’s one thing that hasn’t happened to us this year, is facing a team that was faster than us,” Trivium coach Don Radford said. “They were faster and it gave us trouble, and we knew it would. … We knew that we had to hit some shots, and we got rattled a little bit and never really got it back.”
Leading the charge for Fountain Hills (18-3-1) was Erika Yost. Yost, an Oklahoma signee, scored both goals in almost identical fashion by using her lightning-quick speed and vision to carve through the Trivium (19-2) defense that only allowed four goals all season.
“She’s irreplaceable,” Fountain Hills coach Alison Mabery said. “Her speed is just dynamic. Her footwork, her touches, everything that she’s worked her whole life to become – she’s just been a standout player the last four years and especially this year.”
Yost got the scoring started in the first half when she split a pair of Trivium defenders before burying the ball into the top right corner from 25 yards out 5 minutes in, helping Fountain Hills take a 1-0 at halftime.
“I just had a quick moment where I was open,” Yost said. “I got the right touch on it and got the right shot off and it went in. It was perfect timing.”
Yost added a second goal on a breakaway with 33:35 remaining to give Fountain Hills a little bit of a cushion, something that Mabery didn’t take lightly.
“That’s our game plan when we go into a game or half,” Mabery said. “We want to go as fast and as hard as possible, and get that first goal. If we do that, we know it’s a momentum changer for the other team and makes them work that much harder.”
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It looked like Fountain Hills might add to that lead, but Trivium goalkeeper Victoria Gutierrez had other ideas. Gutierrez continued to stymie the Fountain Hills attack, while giving her team hope for a comeback.
“That was one of the keys to our great defense this year,” Radford said. “If they get by our stars on defense, they still have to face her. She proved her worth tonight. She’s the real deal.”
Going out as a three-time champion and playing in four state champions is a dream come true for Yost.
“I can’t even put it into words,” Yost said, fighting back tears of joy. “It’s so exciting, and I’m super excited about everything. It’s awesome.”