February 6, 2005
For a high school that entered the postseason having never won a playoff game in its three year history, winning the 4A state title would be the perfect finish to a Cinderella story for Basha.
However, after losing their starting goalie, junior Marren Romney, to illness, the Bears were unable to complete the fairy tale Saturday, falling 4-1, to Vail Cienega in third-round action of the 4A girls state soccer tournament at Tempe Sports Complex.
Jessica McDorman chipped a shot over Basha goalie Katie Pena within the first six minutes of play allowing Cienega to take the early lead and never look back. Teammate Karina Camacho scored three consecutive goals to help the Bobcats clinch the quarterfinal berth.
"We really relied on Marren a lot this year," Basha head coach Eric Katz said. "Not having her, put a hole in the enthusiasm of the team."
After trailing the Bobcats, 3-0, with less than 10 minutes remaining in regulation, the Bears made a push offensively as sophomore Angie Grode drained a free kick from just inside midfield to score Basha’s lone goal.
"We communicated real well today, but our passes weren’t working," Grode said. "We didn’t come out to play and we should have won."
Basha came out strong in the second half, getting a great chance on a header from forward Lauren Romney off a cross from junior Ashley Thomas inside Cienega’s goalkeeper box, but the Bobcat’s solid defense quickly shut down any of the Bears offensive momentum.
Entering the matchup, Basha had wins over Pinnacle and Catalina Magnet, but starting six freshman against Cienega proved costly.
"The thing that hurt us was the lack of experience," Katz said. "The atmosphere is intimidating and when we came out sluggish, it hurt us."
After falling one game short of qualifying for the 4A state tournament last year and losing to Scottsdale Chaparral for the East Sky Region title this year, the Bears (10-3, 6-1) will look to next year for redemption.
"The good news is that I have a great base to work with for next year and we’re not losing anybody [to graduation]."
Cienega faces Flagstaff at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Tempe Sports Complex.