A fantastic 4A-II girls soccer quarterfinal match was almost overshadowed by a pair of emotional coaching staffs that nearly came to blows over the outcome.
Senior Jessica Lopez provided the game-tying and game-winning goals — the latter with one minute remaining in the first overtime — to give second-seeded Chandler Seton Catholic a 3-2 victory over No. 7 seed Gilbert Higley on Saturday at Tempe Sports Complex.
It was the only lead of the game for the Sentinels (15-4).
“I thought we showed a lot of heart in the second half,” said Seton coach Casey Tate.
“I thought in the first half we started a little bit slow and Higley was playing very hard. I thought we played with a lot more energy and it looked like we wanted it a little bit more in the second half.”
Minutes after the match, Higley assistant coach Bob Kuisle came up to Tate and began yelling at him for what he called poor sportsmanship by the Sentinels during the match.
“I don’t know what it was,” Tate said. “The guy had been getting in my face the whole game.”
Kuisle’s daughter, Knights head coach Jessica Kuisle, pulled her dad away from Tate, only to get into her own jawing match with the Seton coach for a moment before heading off. The coaches called each other “classless” during the exchange.
Part of Jessica Kuisle’s frustration stemmed from what she called “questionable calls by the ref” Saturday and in Higley’s previous meeting with Seton, a 7-6 Sentinels victory on Jan. 8.
“I think my team played amazing,” Kuisle said. “I think they worked their hearts out and they deserve it 10 times more than the (Sentinels) do.”
After a goal by senior Erin Delamater gave Higley (15-5) a 1-0 lead 11 minutes into the match, Seton senior Nicole Celestino tied things up off a free kick 14 minutes later.
In the second half, Knights freshman Kelsey Ivers scored off a header in the 32nd minute, but the Sentinels equalized off a Lopez drive in the 43rd minute.
“She’s a dynamic player,” Tate said. “She’s very creative on the ball and she’s just a good team player.”
Seton will next face Tucson Palo Verde at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Phoenix College.