Phoenix Pinnacle didn’t have that many chances. It didn’t dominate possession. In fact, the one breakthrough needed a little luck, with Kayla Fleming ending up in the right place at the right time.
“It found my feet, and I took the shot,” said Fleming, who hadn’t scored all season, but ended up with the game-winner. “I never thought it would be possible.”
“Oh my gosh, we did it,” Jorian Baucom said after Pinnacle’s 1-0 win over Gilbert Perry in the Division I girls soccer final Saturday at Gilbert Campo Verde. “That was her first goal this year, and it was the goal that won the state championship. I’m so proud of her. We had a slow first half, and I knew if we kept working hard, I knew we were going to get it.”
Although Perry had its chances, the difference was a sequence in the 39th minute. Fleming shot the ball off the crossbar. It bounced to to Baucom, who headed it off the right post. On the rebound, Baucom got her foot on the ball in the box, and crossed it back to Fleming near the left post, who got it past Perry goalkeeper Carly Sandstedt.
“Just a bounce away,” Perry coach Jason Dunn said. “The possession, the way we controlled the ball, I thought we played a great game of soccer — one lucky bounce for them and one unlucky bounce for us.”
Baucom, who scored 26 goals this season, was marked by Emily Romer much of the afternoon.
Perry held possession much of the first half and got the quality chances, putting pressure on Pinnacle’s lauded backline of Mary Claire Danilevics, Layne Pearson, Ashley Tincker and Maddie Kmetko. Goalkeeper Jalen Tompkins had to make a couple of tough saves.
“Basically it was a battle of two defenses today, luckily we got the win out of it,” Pinnacle coach Suzanne Kirchner said. “We had to hold them off, and it was scary. I’m so excited for these seniors. “
After losing in the semifinals the past two years, Pinnacle reached the final by beating nemesis Xavier Prep in the semifinal on Thursday. Pinnacle won the Class 5A Division II title in 2011.
For Perry, it was its first appearance in a final after losing to Pinnacle in the quarterfinals a year ago.