From 2002 to 2007, no Arizona girls soccer team in any division came close to matching the dominance Chandler Seton Catholic had over its opponents. In winning six consecutive Class 1A/2A/3A state titles, the program built a dynasty that reigned over its foes with an iron fist.
But in the six seasons since the school’s last title, Seton Catholic has yet to return to the promised land. This year, however, might be the program’s best chance to regain its footing atop the state as it entered the postseason Feb. 5 as the No. 3 seed in the Division III playoffs with a 12-1 record.
Leading the way for Seton Catholic is a balanced group of youth and experience that understands the significance of the school’s storied past, but is more focused on beginning a new run of championship success.
“We’re a whole different team, so we’re going to emphasize what we need to do to win, not what happened in the past,” senior forward Kelsey Moore said. “That way we can hopefully make our own legacy.”
To do so, Seton Catholic could end up needing to avenge its only regular-season loss, which came to No. 1 seed Fountain Hills 2-1in early December. If the two squads do meet again, Seton Catholic is confident it has made enough strides over the final two months of the season to flip the script on the top-ranked team.
“We did not connect as well as a team then,” Moore said. “But that was early in the season and we’ve definitely grown and meshed together. We’ve figured out how we work together and I feel we are hitting our stride as a unit and we can take state.”
Boasting three players with at least eight goals and four assists, Seton Catholic doesn’t rely on one star player. Instead, the squad employs a team attack highlighted by Moore, junior forward Reggie VanDevender and freshman midfielder M.J. Carrieres.
“We have a few girls who consistently score, so if one person is marked, then we always have another outlet,” Seton Catholic coach Bianca Jauregui said. “Our opponents have to focus on our entire team so we work hard in practice to make sure everyone is ready to step up in matches.”
Armed with all the right pieces, Seton Catholic believes the time is now to put an end to the school’s title drought.
“We’re peaking at the right time,” Jauregui said.