Glendale Copper Canyon’s goal late in the first half against San Luis was all it needed Wednesday night to advance to the state Division II boys soccer finals.
With seconds left in the first half, Copper Canyon’s Jose Ruiz scored for a 1-0 win at Phoenix Paradise Valley.
San Luis goalie, Alejandro Nogales, was able to jump and block a shot taken just before the goal. Copper Canyon got the ball to Ruiz quickly and Nogales was unable to block his shot.
Copper Canyon (20-2) will face Tuscon in the finals at 1 p.m. Saturday at Gilbert Campo Verde.
The pace of Wednesday’s semifinal did not vary from the first to second half; for the entirety of the game neither team looked like it had the upper hand.
“(San Luis is) a very talented team,” Copper Canyon coach Justin Bogus said. “They had us under a lot of pressure at the end there. I think just the fight of this team that we have displayed since the start of the season and the level that they train at every single day and it pays off in big game, in close games like this.”
San Luis (12-3) entered the playoffs with a higher seed at No. 2 than No. 6 Copper Canyon.
“We knew we were going to see a very good team,” Bogus said. “This is as far as they made it last year in D-I (Division I), so we expected a great game and if anyone watched it you know that’s what we got there.”
The intensity of the game left several Copper Canyon players on the ground after the match.
“We got a couple guys dinged up, but at this point of the season anyone is going to have that,” Bogus said.
Copper Canyon has no plans of altering its style for the final match of the season.
“We are just going stick to our system,” Bogus said. “It’s been working and we are going to continue with that.”