Queen Creek players raised their coach to the heavens after defeating San Luis 3-0 on Saturday at Gilbert Campo Verde High.
It was the school’s first boys soccer state championship after three trips to the semifinals.
Coach Mauricio Ramirez, who pushed this group unlike any other, got tossed up in the air a few times by his team in a celebration that was culminated by great defense, goaltending and the one-two scoring punch of Benji Delgadillo and Jacob Dominguez, who combined for all of the goals in the Division II final.
“I’m crying,” said Delgadillo, who scored two goals on assists from Dominguez and assisted on Dominguez’s goal. “I love this team. I love this sport. To finish it off like this, it feels great.”
It wasn’t easy.
San Luis, which was making its second trip to the state final, spent most of the first half on Queen Creek’s end, trying to figure a way to get the ball in the net.
Early, leading scorer Andres Elizalde blasted a close-range shot that goalie Felix Amenda read correctly and made a diving stop.
San Luis (12-2-2) had several more chances but Queen Creek (16-3-2), making its first trip to the final, defended well to keep Hernandez from getting pelted with shots.
Once, Elizalde got loose along the side but his momentum carried him too deep into the corner and he wasn’t able to get off a shot.
Thirteen minutes in, Dominguez found Delgadillo and he powered the ball in for a 1-0 lead, which stood up for the half.
“I think the first half we were playing to their advantage,” Dominguez said. “The ball was going over the top with their big players. But they’re a great team. They beat Campo Verde. But we got the right result.”
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Queen Creek got better possessions in the second half and cashed in with Delgadillo centering himself for a 28-yard blast into the net at the 48-minute mark, and Dominguez scoring on a feed from Delgadillo 17 minutes later.
“In the beginning, San Luis was taking a lot of shots but we were able to connect with Benjamin Delgadillo and Jacob Dominguez,” Ramirez said. “Once we got one in there, we got on fire.”
This was especially sweet for Delgadillo and Dominguez, best friends who were playing their final high school game together. They also play on the same club team.
“We knew we had to score another one in the second half,” Delgadillo said. “Intensity. We had the heart. We earned it.”
Photos: High school boys soccer state tournament 2015
Sandra Day O’Connor’s Musa Morris, left, is greeted by teammates after he scored against Chandler in their Division I boys soccer championship Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015 in Gilbert, Ariz.