2 late goals rally Cactus Shadows girls

2 late goals rally Cactus Shadows girls

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2 late goals rally Cactus Shadows girls

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Cave Creek Cactus Shadows girls’ soccer coach Jeff Vittorio noticed a change in his team lately.

After a slow start to the season, his squad has played with new-found resiliency lately, and it certainly needed it Friday night in a Division II match against Scottsdale Notre Dame Prep.

Cactus Shadows (8-5) was down 1-0 with less than 11 minutes to play, and its two stars were sidelined. Instead of falling apart, the team pulled together and came away with a 2-1 victory in a Division II matchup.

“These girls never quit,” Vittorio said. “We had girls dropping left and right, and we were down to one sub, but they pulled it out.

“I couldn’t be prouder of this group.”

Senior Kelli Reid had to leave just after halftime for a Young Life camp, and fellow senior Katelyn Marduesz suffered a left knee injury with 11:55 remaining in the game.

But it was Senior Night, and the underclassmen wanted to send their leaders off the right way.

“We played for them,” said sophomore forward Alexa Yardley, who recorded both assists. “We felt like we owed it to them for all they’ve done for us all the last couple of years.”

Freshman Carmen Brown scored Cactus Shadows’ first goal less than two minutes after Marduesz’ injury. Following Yardley’s cross in the goal box, she kicked a perfect shot that tipped off the goalie’s outstretched hand and hit the bottom of the crossbar before going in.

“That was a class goal,” Vittorio said.

Junior Marissa Core scored the game winner with 2:03 remaining.

As happy as Cactus Shadows was with the win, it didn’t want to get too high on the victory.

These teams play again Tuesday, and Vittorio knows Notre Dame (10-2-4) will be seeking revenge.

“They’re going to have a chip on their shoulder,” he said. “We’re going into their place, and this game will be fresh in their minds. We’ll have to put the emotion of this one behind us and match their intensity.”

Notre Dame’s score came from the foot of freshman Dana Gordon, who kicked it in as the ball was loose right in front of the goal.

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