The Corona del Sol Aztec lacrosse team finished the season with a 9-4 record, giving it a third place standing in the Arizona Youth Lacrosse high school division I league.
On May 5 the team defeated the Chandler Wolves 7-3 in the quarterfinal playoff game 7-3 before being defeated May 8 by the Brophy Broncos in the semifinals.
The Aztecs played May 5 in Corona’s Haskell Henshaw Stadium under the lights in their home “white uniforms” in front of roaring fans.
The Aztecs struck first scoring two goals in the first quarter on seven shots at Chandler’s goal while the Aztec defense only allowed Chandler three shots at their goal. The second quarter was more intense with each team taking eight shots at goal and each team scoring one goal. This gave the Aztecs a 3-1 lead at halftime.
Chandler came out in the second half scoring back to back goals but the Aztec offense responded with four goals in the third quarter, three of them coming in the last two minutes of the quarter. Corona’s defense came alive with six minutes remaining in the third quarter and kept Chandler scoreless the rest of the game.
The Aztecs defeated Chandler 7-3 with 28 shots at Chandler’s goal by a combination of Corona players including attacker William Allen who was credited on the stat sheet with three goals and three points while attacker Austin Thibault was credited with two goals, one assist and three points. Middy Dylan Dunlap added two more goals and two points while attacker Matthew Prausa was credited with one assist and one point.
The Aztecs goalies Brandon Moreno saved one goal while Zeric Butters was credited with eight saves or a 72.7% save percentage.
The win over the Chandler Wolves put the Aztecs into a semi-final match-up against two-time state champion and the No. 1 seed Brophy Broncos May 8 at Chaparral high school. Although Corona ultimately lost to Brophy 9-3, they played hard and gave it a great effort.
“Despite the season ending loss, the players were pleased with their performance that night and throughout the season,” said one of the coaches Cliff Prausa. “In addition to the performance on the field these young men have learned about determination, preparation, teamwork and sportsmanship.”
Corona players also accumulated remarkable statistics to add to the overall Aztecs stat sheet this season. Allen led the Aztecs in goals with an average of 2.38 goals and 3.0 points a game. Next was Dunlap averaging 1.38 goals and 2.0 points and Thibault also averaging 1.38 goals but 2.15 points a game. Cody Wagner added 1.08 goals and 1.62 points a game.
Leading in assists were Matthew Prausa with .85 and Thibault with .77 assist per game. Goalkeeper Butters played in all 13 games this season taking 223 shots at Corona’s goal and saving 67% or 149 of these shots.
In addition, several Corona players contributed on offense and defense almost all 13 games this season including Riley Baehr, Ryan Berns, Andrew Bock, Jesse Dodt, Jordan Gustafson, Ryan Thibault, Ryan Wurm, Hayden Drescher, Brock Ehrhart and Hunter Wall.
“Our team and players have accomplished a lot in the four years the Aztecs have been participating in this league,” concluded coach Prausa.
“We started off playing as a division II team in the Arizona Youth Lacrosse League but ended up four years later as a division I semifinalist. It’s been an amazing ride.”