Chandler Basha’s defense held on for as long as it could against defending Division I state champion Chandler Hamilton, but when a picturesque volley from 25 yards off Luis Manta’s foot found the back of the net, the game was basically over.
Hamilton pushed Basha around all night in the Division I tussle between the two talented Chandler teams. Hamilton won 3-0, but before Manta scored with 32 minutes left in the second half, it looked like a draw was inevitable.
“It was a little bit frustrating,” Manta said. “We knew someone was going to put it in, our coach even said at halftime, someone’s going to score we just have to wait for it to come.”
It was a terrific debut for Manta, who missed the first game due to injury.
“He is a captain and he takes it very seriously, his role with the group,” Hamilton coach Nick Markette said. “It was a pretty spectacular shot too. Their keeper had no chance on that.”
Basha’s backline and goalkeeper player well throughout the game, but its compact shape left open room on the outside which wings such as Will Stemple and Connor Follet exploited for Hamilton (2-0).
“We wanted to have our outside backs get in and push those spaces wide, because we thought they were so compact in the middle,” Markette said. “The second and third goal came from those outside guys.”
Stemple scored with 13 minutes left on a shot inside the box off a cross. Then Zachary Lipman wrapped it up with nine minutes remaining to give Hamilton the 3-0 victory.
Next up for Hamilton is Mesa Dobson on Monday, while Basha (2-1) faces Gilbert Highland on Dec. 11.