It was a season few around the Queen Creek program expected but it came to an end with a 6-0 blowout loss to Salpointe Catholic in the Division II boys soccer semifinal on Thursday night.
“We weren’t sure of how this season was going to be,” Bulldogs coach Mauricio Ramirez said. “But I had a special group of kids this year and we made things happen. We kind of had a downfall against Campo this year, but we turned it around and came back and beat them at our place. From there on, everything started rolling in our favor. These kids were just a great bunch of kids. I’m proud of them. They played their hearts out. We were a little bit off this year, but we'll be ready for next year.”
This season marked the first time in the past decade that Queen Creek had reached the semifinals. As a No. 8 seed heading into the tournament, the Bulldogs upset top seed South Mountain in the quarterfinals. Unfortunately, the magic ran out against a very good Salpointe team.
The Lancers dominated the game from the outset, controlling the tempo of the match and possession of the ball. Salpointe started the scoring early, its first goal coming in the seventh minute from Gavino Carranza. Carranza would end up with a hat trick in this one, scoring twice more and also adding an assist. Colin O’Brien had a goal and assist for the Lancers while Will Martin and TJ Hope also contributed goals.
Salpointe advances to the championship game on Saturday afternoon where it will face tournament surprise 14-seed Apollo. The Lancers knocked off Apollo last year in the semifinals en route to their state championship.
“We had a fantastic battle with Apollo last year,” Salpointe coach Wolfgang Weber said. “I don’t expect anything different this year. It’s going to be a difficult and challenging game for us. We’re looking forward to it.”