Of all the great Tucson prep soccer teams, Tucson High has been completely shut out of a state title and even a spot in a state title game.
That all ended Wednesday night when fourth-seeded Tucson toppled ninth-seeded Yuma Kofa 3-0 in the Division II boys soccer semifinals at Phoenix’s Paradise Valley High.
Sophomore midfielder Giovanni Ahumada scored two goals as unbeaten Tucson (23-0-3) dominated play throughout much of the contest and will face Glendale Copper Canyon on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Gilbert’s Campo Verde High.
“We’re one win away,” Tucson coach Ismail Arce said. “It’s a great feeling.”
Tucson took a 1-0 lead in the game’s eighth minute when Julian Goana rebounded Jacob Zepp’s throw-in past Kofa goalkeeper Assante Nicewander.
Tucson dominated play throughout the first half when Ahumada headed the ball past Nicewander after a feed inside the box for a 2-0 lead 18 minutes into the game.
“We kept the ball on the ground,” Arce said of his squad’s early success on offense. “We have a lot of guys who can handle the ball. That is our strength.”
Kofa coach Jamie Nicewander, whose team was coming off an upset of No. 1 Tucson Catalina Foothills in quarterfinal play, didn’t think much of his squad’s play at the outset.
“We just didn’t show up to play in the first half,” Nicewander said. “We played too defensively. They’re a great club. We had to turn the contest around in the second half, and we did manage to take control of the game for a while.”
Things changed early in the second half as Kofa’s Christian Villegas broke through the Tucson defense and managed to hit the crossbar after he appeared to beat Tucson goalkeeper Anthony Siaha. A few minutes later, Kofa’s top scorer, Franky Mallek also appeared to beat Siaha, but hit the post.
Ahumada iced the game in the game’s 55th minute when he eluded a defender in the box and put it past Assante Nicewander.
“I was one on one with the defender, and I caught him flat-footed,” Ahumada said. “I saw an open net. I caught the keeper off-guard.”
Kofa finishes 11-5-1.