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Sports Notebook - Big expectations, big win raise Aztec hopes

By: Nathan Scherotter

Jan 6, 2007


The winter basketball season is almost half over for the Aztecs, leaving the team with a 8-7 record.

Entering the McClintock Holiday Shootout the boys squad lost three in a row and looked to reverse its luck.

The first game of the tournament slotted Corona against Desert Mountain, a rematch of the Mesa High Thanksgiving Invitational final. In the previous meeting the Wolves reeled off a late fourth quarter comeback to hand the Aztecs their first loss of the season.

However, on Dec. 27, the Aztecs had their revenge, defeating the Wolves in a physical and emotional game.

“The win was big for us,” senior forward Johnny Beerling said. “We played hard and were able to build momentum for the upcoming games.”

After this victory, the team’s path to the championship had to go through the Dobson Mustangs. Corona also played Dobson earlier in the season and was soundly defeated 59-75.

The Aztecs’ second chance produced similar results. A 50-61 loss now places the team on the consolation side of the bracket.

Solid performances by seniors Phil Feinberg and Brad Carroll has been the norm for the Aztecs all season, and the same was true throughout the tournament. Also stepping up against the Mustangs was senior forward Justin Kelly, who pulled down many important rebounds and added another inside presence.

“All the games we’ve played have been close,” Kelly said. “We have to be able to finish off the games, though.”

Following the tournament the Aztecs resume head-to-head play against the Chandler Wolves, and region play starts the following week at home against highly ranked Desert Vista.

“The region games coming up after break are really important,” Beerling said. “All the region games are really close and mean a lot to us and to our fans.”

The Aztecs finished the tournament with a win again Horizon, finishing fifth out of a possible 18.

Girls Soccer

The Lady Aztecs have continued their winning tradition well into this season, however lost 2-1 in the finals to Mountain Pointe.

The Mustang Soccer Tournament at Red Mountain Park showcased the Aztecs’ dominance through the first four games.

Going 3-0 to start the tournament, the Aztecs had impressive wins over Mesquite, Yuma and Mountain Ridge.

“We played really (through our first games),” sophomore striker Whitney Miller said. “We had some big wins against tough teams.”

Tournament goals were scored by Miller, junior striker Brittany Cole, junior striker Krista Hoffer, freshman midfielder Jessica Johnson, senior defender Sydney Rea and sophomore defender/midfielder Lexie Schroeder.

The team had also dominated the field with the absence of star midfielder and assists-leader senior Alexa Daiutolo, who was unable to attend this tournament.

The Aztecs had hoped to gain the tournament title on Dec. 30 and took their confidence into the start of region play.

“We have to take it a game at a time,” Schroeder said prior to the tournament. “We try to stay focused on each individual game and not think about the future. If we do that we will be fine.”

Boys Soccer

The boys soccer team has also had very positive results over the first half of the season.

Going 5-2 in regular season play and reaching the semifinals in the Tempe Diablos Tournament left the Aztecs with high hopes for the second half and into the Dobson Soccer Tournament.

Through the first three games of the tournament, the Aztecs went 2-0-1.  In the semi-finals against Salpointe Tucson, however, they took a defeat but won later to take third place in the tournament.

The team has defeated Mesquite 3-1, Highland 4-3 and tied Millennium.

“Our best game was a comeback win over Highland,” senior defender Dain Williams said.

This game displayed all of sophomore forward Matt Widjaja’s skills, including a hat trick. According to Williams, Widjaja played well throughout the tournament.

After the tournament the boys also look to region play, where both Desert Vista and Mountain Pointe stand in the way of a region title. That competition starts the week of Jan. 8.



Photo by Kris Cartwright


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