As the defending Division I girls soccer champion, Phoenix Xavier Prep has gotten used to seeing opposing teams’ best shot.
But as Scottsdale Chaparral found out Saturday, when Xavier is on its game, not even a team’s best shot is good enough.
Controlling the ball for the majority of the afternoon, No. 4 Xavier easily handled visiting No. 5 Chaparral, winning 4-0 in a Division I state quarterfinal matchup.
“We had possession in their end the entire game,” Xavier coach Barb Chura said. “It was a pretty dominating possession-style game that we got to play today. And I think that lends itself to goals.”
Xavier will play either No. 1 Phoenix Pinnacle or No. 9 Gilbert in the semifinals at 7 p.m. Thursday at Gilbert Campo Verde High.
It was quickly apparent that Xavier (14-5-2) had the upper hand on Chaparral (11-6-3) Saturday, as it had several early scoring chances and rarely had to play much defense.
The first breakthrough came in the 25th minute, when junior forward Tessa Zaccagnio rocketed a drive from outside the box that evaded the Chaparral goalkeeper’s outstretched arms.
“I took a touch, and I was running down the sideline,” Zaccagnio said. “I cut it back and put it on my left foot, which is my dominant foot, and just took the shot and hoped for the best. I got lucky and it went in.”
Zaccagnio scored again less than three minutes into the second half, on a ball that ricocheted off two Chaparral defenders and into the net, to give Xavier a 2-0 lead that appeared insurmountable given its possession advantage.
“After the second goal, it was tough for us to bounce back,” Chaparral coach Robyn Carlson said.
Freshman Quiqui Hita and junior Kelly Harris added goals later in the second half for the final margin.
Xavier started somewhat slow this season, splitting its first eight games. But since then, it has lost just once in 13 contests, and after winning the title last year as a No. 4 seed, it looks capable of doing it again in 2014.
“You want to be at your peak performance in February,” Chura said. “We think we’re there. We’re playing really well.”