KINGMAN - They knew it was going to be a battle coming in, and a battle it was. The Coconino Panthers scored in the 73rd minute to break a 2-2 tie and held on to hand the Kingman High boys soccer team its first loss of the regular season Tuesday at KHS, 3-2.
"This game was a test of our teamwork, and our teamwork was average at best," said KHS coach Kevin Wilkerson. "They tried hard but just couldn't connect with each other on the field."
Kingman (5-1 D-II, 9-3) only played from behind or tied and never could get ahead of Coconino (3-1 D-II). The Panthers blasted 28 shots-on-goal versus 11 for Kingman. Bulldogs' keeper Eric Venenga finished with 12 saves for the match.
After Coconino took a 1-0 lead in the 15th minute, Kingman was awarded a penalty kick in the 24th. Taylor Ferrin kicked what looked to be a rise ball over Coconino's keeper Jose Escandon to tie the match, 1-1. That's where the score was at the half.
Five yellow cards were handed out in the physically contested match - four on Coconino.
"Coconino is always a tough and heated game," Wilkerson said.
The Panthers took their second lead of the game in the 54th minute on a goal by Ivan Nolasco.Kingman answered just three minutes later when David Amador let fly a boot that Escandon mishandled. The Bulldogs' Brett Sipe was there waiting and took advantage of the miscue to tie the match, 2-2.
"We got a little frustrated and could have played a little better," Wilkerson said. "Our touches were a little off, which made the difference in our ball control."