By: USA TODAY High School Sports | February 11, 2017
Phoenix North Canyon defeated top-seeded Gilbert Campo Verde, 3-1, to win the 5A Conference boys soccer state championship on Saturday at Campo Verde.
Campo Verde, the host for four state title games Saturday, was attempting to complete a perfect season, coming in with a 25-0 record.
However, North Canyon completed the upset thanks to two goals in the second half by leading scorer, junior Daniel Bustamonte.
The first half was a back-and-forth affair, as North Canyon (22-3-1) scored first on a header from senior Edgar Barraza with 15 minutes, 25 seconds remaining in the first half.
Campo Verde (25-1) answered with a goal by junior Alec Carroll with 3:12 remaining in the first half.
In the second half, the crowd, momentum and odds were in Campo Verde’s favor. However, Campo Verde missed all of its chances by a matter of inches.
“We missed some opportunities that normally we would make,” Campo Verde coach Drew Guarneri said. “Those are game-changers.”
After a crucial save by North Canyon goalkeeper Sergio Gonzalez on a set play off a free kick, North Canyon felt the momentum in its favor and pushed forward offensively.
North Canyon’s leading scorer, Daniel Bustamonte, took a shot that drilled the inside of the far-side post, then again off the near-side post, before crossing the goal line.
- Win $1,000 for your high school in our Fan Experience contest
- Nominate: All-Arizona teams, Athletes of the Week, Academic All-Stars
- Larry Fitzgerald to headline azcentral.com Sports Awards
Facing a 2-1 deficit, Campo Verde began to press heavily offensively, which led to two more chances that both missed by the slimmest of margins.
Finally, without leaving anyone back on defense, Bustamonte took the ball coast to coast, before rifling a shot past Justin Zimmerman for the third goal of the game.
After that goal, it was only a matter of time before North Canyon could celebrate.
As the final seconds ticked off the clock, North Canyon poured on to the field in celebration.
“It’s surreal,” North Canyon coach Didi Zekila said. “It’s something we’ve been dreaming about.”
Acknowledging the odds were against them, Zekila said, “Some of these kids, they don’t win stuff. This is the pinnacle for them.”
5A Conference boys soccer state championship, arizona high school boys soccer, Arizona high school sports, azhs, Campo Verde Coyotes, gilbert campo verde, High school boys soccer, north canyon rattlers, Phoenix North Canyon, soccer, Gallery