Desert Vista girls soccer upsets Gilbert Highland

Desert Vista girls soccer upsets Gilbert Highland


Desert Vista girls soccer upsets Gilbert Highland


The message was sent. A statement to every other team in Division I.

Phoenix Desert Vista girls soccer is here, ready to be amongst the elite again.

Desert Vista did so with a 2-1 upset win over Gilbert Highland, the Division I defending champion and current top-ranked team, in the Bill Vanney Tempe Diablos Classic tournament championship match Friday night at Tempe Sports Complex.

“We’re definitely here to try and take it this year,” Desert Vista coach Marvin Hypolite said. “Last year we fell short. We played them last year, and it’s always a competition. This (win) was definitely a statement.”

Desert Vista showed it wasn’t a fluke, either, scoring two beautiful goals to give Highland its first goals and loss of the season in its seventh game.

The two teams had numerous scoring opportunities in the match’s first 30 minutes, but it was Desert Vista that would score first.

In the 31st minute, Rachel Ressler showed off her speed, skills and shot on one run. She took the ball from 50 yards away and went 1-on-1 with a Highland defender. She made a few step-over moves, then beat the defender with pace, and from seven yards out, lifted the ball over the Highland goalkeeper’s outstretched arms and in for the goal.

“Class player,” Hypolite said of Ressler. “They come every once in a blue moon.”

But Highland’s main weapon was at it again — Jaden DeGracie’s flip throw-in, which she used to help total 41 assists last year. It paid off in the 53rd minute when DeGracie’s 35-yard throw into the box deflected off Desert Vista goalkeeper’s hands and in for the own goal to tie the match.

Desert Vista would score the match-winner 10 minutes later. Tatum Heeres beat a defender 1-on-1 and passed it to Kelly Watson, who one-timed a seven-yard shot in for the goal and the 2-1 lead.

Highland had more of the possession from there but couldn’t create clear chances.

“They’re playing well and we have some kinks to iron out,” Highland coach Jonathan Berzins said of Desert Vista, which also beat Highland in last season’s Diablos tournament. “But it’s a good that it’s December and not late January. We definitely had some opportunities. We usually are very disciplined about getting after set pieces but I don’t think we fully executed as well as we typically do in this area.”

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