What kind of morning/afternoon was it on Saturday for Verrado's girls soccer team? Well, the Vipers didn't have a shot on goal in regulation, two overtime periods or two golden goal periods covering 110 minutes of action
But when it came time to get some shots off, Verrado prevailed, 4-3, in penatly kicks notching a 1-0 win over four-time defending champ and top-seed Catalina Foothills in the Division II title match at Campo Verde High School.
Verrado (17-2), the No. 2 seed, got the winning PK from junior Taylor Desanti. Desanti nestled her match-winner in the left corner of the net past Catalina Foothills keeper Sam Weisband. Verrado never led in the shootout, trailing 2-0, 2-1 and 3-2. Coach Dave Hopkinson's team had reached the semifinals in the D-III state tournmanets in 2012 and 2013 where they lost to the eventual champion. The third time — getting past the semis — was the charrm in such a startling manner.
Verrado junior keeper Shea Smith, peppered with shots the entire match including six that hit the cross bar, made a bunch of saves over regulation and overtime and two huge saves in the shootout. The last one set up Desanti for the chance to win after CFH's attempted its 6th PK.
Also converting PKs in the shootout for Verrado were Stephanie Miller, Kelly Smith and Kristen Miller. The title was not only Verrado's first girls soccer title, but the school's first-ever in any sport. Verrado opened in 2006.
Verrado decided from the start to focus solely on defend and if an opportunity arose to score then maybe it would push forward. Nothing solid in that vein transpired. Playing to force a shootout was the result.
Catalina Foothills (22-2-2) was seeking its fifth straight championship and ninth in school history. Seven of the eight titles the school has won has been under current head coach Charles Kendrick.