Photo Gallery & Match Recap: Boulder Creek edge Xavier 1-0
By Garrett Cleverly @AZKicksit
Match highlights and player interviews to be featured on 3TV’s Varsity Zone on Friday night at 10:30 p.m.
PHOENIX - In a match that looked destined for a draw, Boulder Creek edged Xavier College Prep 1-0 on a Natalie Stephens goal with less than two minutes remaining on Tuesday night in central Phoenix.
With less than thirty minutes remaining, Boulder Creek started to play down the wings, but were deterred by Xavier’s stout defensive backline led by captain and Santa Clara commit Kellie Peay and Arkansas commit Elizabeth Poblete. However, Xavier’s efforts fell on the wayside as Boulder Creek’s persistence paid off, when Arizona State University commit Stephens dropped down to the midfield, which sprung teammate and Oklahoma commit Kyle Escobedo free down the left-wing. Escobedo whipped in a low cross, which found Stephens, who slotted the ball with the outside part of her foot to far post for the match-winning goal.
The first half saw limited chances between the sides and it took the match just over an hour to produce the first threat. With twenty-two minutes remaining, Escobedo collected a loose ball in the midfield and took a touch before firing a 30-yard bomb that was deflected out for a corner by Xavier goalkeeper Sydnay Tucker. The ensuing corner caused a moment of panic for Xavier as the ball squirted out to a Boulder Creek player on the left, who dribbled to the touchline and sent in a cross to the near post. Tucker was quick to react and pounced on the ball.
Ten minutes later, Xavier saw their best opportunity stopped when a corner was cleared out to Fordham commit Carly Wagner on top of the 18. She took a touch to the right and rifled a shot through traffic that was saved by Boulder Creek goalkeeper and Air Force commit Megan Strang, who commented on how the goal saving block shifted the momentum to Boulder Creek after the match.
Boulder Creek and Xavier are arguably two of the strongest teams in the Arizona. The match also featured a combined eleven college commitments between the two schools. The college commits did not disappoint, as Lauren Pipitone, Kelly Harris, Wagner, Populete and Peay impressed for Xavier. Boulder Creek’s college commits: Angela Boyle, Brooke Denesik, Shelby Stewart, Strang, Escobedo and Stephens all had an outstanding showing. Freshman Quiqui Hita at Xavier and sophomore Madi Rasimas at Boulder Creek each showed moments of brilliance and look to be the next impact players in the Grand Canyon State.