Blue Ridge girls rally from early deficit

Blue Ridge girls rally from early deficit


Blue Ridge girls rally from early deficit


Senior co-captain Ashley Davidson and junior Jill Turner each scored two goals to lead Lakeside Blue Ridge to a 4-2 victory over Tucson Desert Christian on Saturday in the Division IV girls soccer championship match at Gilbert Campo Verde.

“This feels amazing,” said Davidson, who also was on the field — as a freshman — the last time Blue Ridge won the girls title in 2009. “We really wanted this and we worked very well as a team this year to get it.”

The championship capped a memorable first season for Coach Rhonda Rydberg.

“I think this game was a well-played game,” Rydberg said. “I’m so proud of our team for their hard work all season and to see how hard they played today.”

Desert Christian stunned Blue Ridge by taking a 1-0 lead on a free kick by junior Jenna Cray with 18:52 left in the first half, but Davidson scored twice before halftime.

Davidson, a midfielder, notched her second goal with just 25.1 seconds left before intermission. The goal, her seventh of the season, set up by a slick give-and-go with senior Adela Traeger, changed the tone of the match.

“We watched Desert Christian last week and we saw that they were a really good team, so when they scored first I thought ‘Oh no, they’re such a good team,'” Turner said. “But we were really strong after that, and after Ashley scored her two goals we all started getting our confidence back.”

Turner, a speedy forward, scored her two goals within a span of 14:06 in the second half.

“Jill puts herself in the right positions, and she has the confidence to finish it, and you saw her do that two times today in a big game,” Rydberg said.

Trailing 4-1, senior Sara Boice scored a late goal for Desert Christian, which fielded a team of just 12 players.

“Blue Ridge is an exceptional team, and they have players with great ball skills,” Desert Christian Coach Mark Harting said. “We started the season with only six girls and our first three games we only had 10. So for us to compete and be here on the last day of the state tournament shows you all you need to know about the heart of these young ladies on our team.”

Leading 4-2, Blue Ridge goalkeeper Naomi Schimmel made a nice diving save with 1:25 to play, and her team’s celebration of an undefeated season (21-0-1) soon followed.

“It was a surprise that we fell behind, but I knew that our players would never give up after that and that they would fight hard and they did,” Rydberg said. “It’s a great group of girls, and I’m happy for them today.”

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