KHS girls soccer team plays Willow Canyon tough until overtime

Surprise Willow Canyon won the war of determination and spoiled Senior Appreciation Night for the Kingman High girls soccer team with a 6-2 win in overtime Tuesday at White Cliffs Middle School.

The Bulldogs (4-13, 2-7) held a second-half lead of 2-1 for 29 minutes, but the downside was that Willow Canyon still had nine minutes of play left to tie the score.

In the 71st minute, the Wildcats' (7-3, 7-2) Samantha Palmer scored into the left rear corner of the goal when Willow Canyon was awarded a penalty kick.

Kingman opened the scoring in just the eighth minute of the game when Katy Smith launched a picture-perfect shot from 25 yards out on the left side of the field. Smith's boomer had a left-to-right hook that sailed over the Wildcats' keeper Jadalyn Cirillo into right rear corner.

Kingman held off Willow Canyon for 30 minutes as the Bulldogs dominated the field of balance in the first half until Karen Toro of Willow Canyon received an assist from Palmer off of an indirect kick in the 33rd minute.

"I'm really happy with the way our girls played," coach Marco Corrales said. "Willow Canyon is a really good team."

The Bulldogs jumped out to the 2-1 lead in the second half at the 42nd minute mark. After Kingman was awarded an indirect kick, senior Cassie Acer started the play by just placing her foot on the ball and Smith scored her second goal of the game that went through a wall of Willow Canyon players into the right side of the net.

Though the score may not indicate it, sophomore keeper Ashley Kelly-LaSalle had an outstanding game. Kelly-LaSalle recorded 12 saves as the Wildcats pummeled her with 30 shots on goal.

Willow Canyon finally managed to get ahead of the Bulldogs in the 7th minute of overtime. Again it was a Toro and Palmer combination that did in Kingman.

Toro sent a pass across the field from the right sideline and Palmer took the ball out of the air and deftly placed the ball into the left side of the net. The Wildcats took the 3-2 lead and never looked back.

Kingman surrendered three goals in the second overtime half. The first could be seen to take the wind out of the Bulldogs' sail.

"We ran out of gas in the second overtime," Corrales said. "That, plus the pressure of the game, did us in."

Willow Canyon attempted to center the ball in front of Kelly-LaSalle and the ball soared long. Kingman's Lauren Adams tried to clear the ball but inadvertently kicked it into her own goal.

The physical play of Willow Canyon may have played a large role in the Bulldogs' stamina. Kingman did wilt at the end despite Corrales trying to keep the Wildcats from scoring by loading up his defense in front of Kelly-LaSalle.

"We took many vicious kicks from behind," Corrales said. "That's the way they play down in Phoenix."

The Bulldogs wrap up their season at 6 p.m. today in Surprise versus Valley Vista (1-9, 1-7). The Monsoon's only victory this season came at the expense of the Bulldogs on Jan. 8 in a 2-1 game here in Kingman.