There was a quick goal, crucial goalkeeper saves and a late equalizer.
At the end of Friday’s Division I power-point match, which saw Gilbert and host Chandler Basha tied at 2, Gilbert coach Benjamin Holzer was pleased with his team’s performance.
“They played really hard,” Holzer said of his team that came into the match as the underdog against a Basha team that had won the Mesa Dobson tournament championship. “I think it was a well-played soccer game between two evenly-matched teams.”
Gilbert (7-5-1) started the match well, attacking right after the first whistle. It paid off in the ninth minute when Jemma Cota headed in a goal for an early 1-0 lead.
Basha (7-5-2) didn’t find its rhythm until the second half when it scored two goals within six minutes. In the 62nd minute, Destiny Decker scored from 16 yards out. Then Jazmarie Mader found some space and sent in a perfect cross that Kaitlin Parsons ran onto and headed in to give Basha a 2-1 lead.
“(Decker’s) goal was fantastic and Jaz sent it to KP, who is the smallest person on the team but just fights and fights and fights,” Basha coach Greg Johnson said. “… We can compete with most people. It’s going to be a battle every game.”
Basha could have scored more goals if it wasn’t for Gilbert goalkeeper Breanna Flores.
“She’s been huge for us this year,” Holzer said. “She has really done well for herself all season long, not just (Friday night). She’s played at a high level.”
Flores’ play allowed Gilbert to stay in the match and score the tying goal in the 72nd minute when the ball deflected right to Melinda Gutierrez, who shot and finished from 14 yards out.
Both teams had scoring chances in the two 10-minute overtime periods but just couldn’t find the finishing touch.