Recap & Photo Gallery: Hamilton defeats Sandra Day O’Connor 4-3 and advances to AIA DI boys championship
By Garrett Cleverly
GILBERT, Ariz. - Connor Follet and Gabriel Para-Munoz provided the late heroics for #1 seeded Hamilton who came from behind and defeated #4 seeded Sandra Day O’Connor 4-3 in the AIA DI boy’s semifinal match on Wednesday night at Campo Verde High School.
With less than seven minutes remaining in regulation time, Hamilton’s Munoz scored the equalizer when his shot from the 18 glanced off the hands of Sandra goalkeeper Matt Ortiz. Four minutes later a piercing run by Tyler Patel down the right-wing forced Ortiz off his line. Patel calmly looked up and sent a cross through traffic that found Follet, who redirected the ball into an empty net.
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The win propelled Hamilton into the state championship match, which marks their fourth appearance in five years.
“It’s a culture at Hamilton,” Follet said. “We never gave up and it just feels amazing.”
Sandra came out aggressive and scored the opening goal in 9th minute when Jackson Jellah beat a Hamilton defender down the line. He curled in a low cross for the back post, which found sophomore Alexis Aguilar. The goal woke up the Hamilton offense, which scored two goals in quick succession from Follet assist. The first was in the 16th minute when Follet cut into the box and dribbled to the touchline. He then passed to the top of the box where an unmarked Sam Mazzola was waiting. The second was scored four minutes later when Follet’s cross found Kalvin Parr inside the box.
As he did in the first half, Jellah came out aggressive at the beginning of the second half when he side-stepped two defenders and slotted the ball near post to tie the match a 2-2. Five minutes later Sandra gave Hamilton a taste of their own medicine when an unmarked Ethan Ramsey scored from a cross. Sandra had a few more chances late to extend the lead, but failed to and resorted to holding back Hamilton’s attack in the dying minutes.
Hamilton will face a familiar foe in Brophy on Saturday in the championship match, which will be held at Campo Verde with kickoff set for 6:00pm.