There aren’t too many more unusual names than Riggs Lennon.
The Brophy soccer sensation is OK with that. Named after his grandmother’s maiden name, both he and his younger brother, Brooks, revel in their parents’ willingness to go off the proverbial beaten path when it came to baby names.
Where there’s originality, there’s curiosity.
“I’m very happy they named me that, lots of compliments,” he said. “It’s unique and it fits me well.”
As for soccer, his skill set is no less unique.
He admitted the mental and psychological aspects of big-time soccer need refining, but he’s also only a sophomore. Meanwhile, his skills trumped a senior-heavy, uber-talented team that went wire-to-wire as the top boys team in the state and won the 5A-I state championship.
Lennon’s 35 goals broke the school record Milo Inaguez held for 20 years (29 goals). More than once this season Brophy coach Marc Kelly referred to Riggs as the best player he’s coached in his decade at Brophy.
The seeds for this year’s success were sewn in California around Christmas break, when the Broncos went to California and beat elite teams in succession to win the Golden State Invitational. Lennon brought the Broncos back from a 1-0 deficit (the team’s first of the season) in the semifinals with two goals in the final 10 minutes.
After an emotional 2-1 victory against 5A-I runner-up Hamilton in mid-January, Brophy lost its only game of the season when Desert Vista struck early and went into a defensive shell.
“We were frustrated because it was right after the Hamilton win and we came off a really good game, and we were kind of hoping for a shot at No. 1 (nationally),” Lennon said. “We had to get ourselves back together and that meant work more. In the long run it was probably good for us.”
They met again in the state tournament quarterfinals, but Lennon scored the game-winner for the Broncos, who fought off a Kofa comeback in the semifinals and held on harrowingly against Hamilton to win the state championship match.
He’s playing for the Sereno club team this summer, but hasn’t decided about playing high school next winter. It’s an important period for college aspirations and, with what could become a “pick-em” of colleges, he wonders if club soccer would be his best route next year.
Meanwhile, he’s traveling to Kansas City for spring break in April to learn from and train with MLS and the Kansas City Wizards, thanks to a connection of Kelly’s.
In two years, however, Brooks is likely to enroll as a Brophy freshman when Riggs is a senior, and that’s an intriguing scenario for big brother.
“It’ll be really exciting,” Riggs said.
Unless you’re a defender.
All-Tribune Boys Soccer First Team
Player School Pos. Yr. Comment
Ethan Taplin Notre Dame F Sr. 36 goals included hat trick in 4A-II state championship match.
Riggs Lennon Brophy F So. Best attacker in state shattered 20-year-old school scoring record
Brian Piotrowski Desert Vista F Sr. Two-time All-State forward among handful of best to come out of D.V.
Sean Ayers Brophy MF Sr. Relentless and talented, he was the engine that set up Brophy forwards
Vladislav Kalinteev Saguaro MF Jr. All-State player was Desert Sky Player of Year
Adam Rodriguez Mesquite MF Sr. MVP of 11-1 power point season; Value transcended stats
Ruben Gonzalez Mountain View MF Sr. Was Central Region Offensive Player of Year
Ryan Holt Hamilton D Sr. Widely considered best defender in state for 5A-I runners-up
Chris Webb Gilbert D Sr. Best defender in East Valley outside of Holt
Anthony Boyd Perry D Sr. Leader of surprise 5A-II runner-up squad was E.V. region POY
Anthony Broglia Brophy D Sr. All-State and All-Region performer for the brick-wall backline
Kiyan Pirgheybi Hamilton GK Jr. 17 shutouts, .4 goals against average; only one goal allowed in playoffs
Player of the Year: Riggs Lennon, Brophy
Coach of the Year: Marc Kelly, Brophy: Did arguably the most difficult thing a coach can do: Take a team loaded with talent and sky-high expectations, and toss out egos while living up to those expectations.
Apache Junction: Alex Barazza, So., F; David Gamboa, Sr., D.
Arcadia: Gino Belassen, Jr., MF; Tyler Scrivner, Jr., D;
Brophy: Joe Holway, Sr., MF; Connor Shea, Sr., D;
Cactus Shadows: Casey DeBrusk, Sr, GK; Jack Huettner, Sr., MF; Tyler McKinney, Sr., D; Phil Wiltfong, Sr., MF.
Campo Verde: Sam Gleadle, Jr., D.
Chandler: Joseph Clemente, Sr., F; Daniel Koeth, Jr., D; Jesus Villegas, Jr., MF.
Chaparral: Cole Brown, Sr., D; Allesandro Carotenuto, Sr., MF; Sam Connors, Sr., MF; Kian Johnson, So., GK.
Corona del Sol: Graham Hemingson, Sr., MF.
Coronado: Jonny Bahena, Jr., MF; Emilio Esquivel, Jr., GK; Jesus Garcia, Sr. D.
Desert Mountain: Alec Kirshner, Sr., D; Michael Lurio, Sr., MF; Zach Spisak, Sr., F;
Desert Ridge: Dallas Whitlow, Sr., F.
Desert Vista: Tyler Angell, So., MF; Chris Gosselin, Sr., GK; Connor Leisy, So., D; Cesar Sandoval, Jr., MF.
Dobson: Michael Schellenbaum, Sr., F.
Fountain Hills: Ty Blunt, Jr., GK; Keifer Dunham, Jr., MF; Kyle Goodall, Jr., D.
Gilbert: Charlie Dukes, Jr., MF; Nathan Rice, Jr., F.
Hamilton: Anthony Flores, Sr., MF; Zachary Nasipak, Sr., D; Bryan Suarez, Sr., F.
Highland: Preston Baggett, Sr., D; Kyle Jarvis, Sr., MF; Luke Lavanway, Sr., D.
Higley: Jose Madrigal, Jr., MF; Collin Williams, Sr., D.
Horizon: Corey Vorsanger, Sr., MF.
Horizon Honors: Jordan Mattouk, So.; Ryan Sangston, Sr.
Marcos de Niza: Connor Buckley, Jr., MF; Anthony Shivers, Sr., F.
McClintock: Josvel Anaya; Andres Estrada.
Mesa: Steven Delgado, Jr., D; Luis Lopez, Fr., MF.
Mesquite: Tyler Geske, Sr., F; Karai Keil, Sr., D.
Mountain Pointe: Kevin Kadisak, Sr., GK; Danny Meyer, Fr., MF; Tejas Narkhede, Jr., MF.
Mountain View: Brandon Allen, Sr., MF; Kelvin Fares, Jr., D; Ryan LaRose, Sr., MF; Kevin Murphy, Jr., MF.
Notre Dame: Ricardo Boggs, Sr., F; Tommy Hebert, So., GK; Taylor Scott, Sr., F;
Perry: Chris Aguirre, Sr., MF; Ricy Cuevas, Sr., GK; Jeffrey Long-Blanchard, Sr., MF; Arturo Molina, Sr., MF.
Pinnacle: Ryan Rybicki, Sr., D; Andrew Wall, Jr., MF; Daniel Wall, So., F.
Queen Creek: Sergio Garcia, Sr., MF; Kyle Krause, Sr., MF.
Red Mountain: Brett Molaskey, Sr., MF; Luis Schraidt, Jr., MF; Cody Wolfe, Sr., GK.
Saguaro: Marcello Aguirre, Jr., GK; Chris Defeyter, Sr., MF; Andrew Olivares, Sr., F; David Renner, Sr., D.
Scottsdale Christian: Logan Gangsei, Sr.; Sean McDowell, Sr.; Ryan Tiffany, Sr.
Seton Catholic: Zach Blomberg, So., F; Scott Dearing, Jr., MF; Matt Reckenberg, Jr., D.
Tempe: Misael Buendia, Sr., F; Omar Lopez, Sr., F;
Valley Christian: Alex Bacon, Jr., MF; Jon Hill, Sr., F; Trent Masselink, Jr., D; Tyler Owings, Sr., GK; Connor Schromm, Sr., MF;
Westwood: Julian Galvan, So., MF; Jonathan Padilla, Sr., MF; Sergio Schwendener, Jr., D.
Memorable Moments from the 2010-2011 season
(Almost) nobody beat Brophy: Having coached a dominant team in 2009, Corona del Sol coach Dan Salas called Brophy this year’s version of Corona. That was in November, and four months later, the senior-heavy Broncos upheld that Thanksgiving claim. Marc Kelly’s team went to the Golden State Invitational that featured a bevy of strong California teams, and beat them all to win the tournament in December. The Broncos’ only loss of the season was to Desert Vista in mid-January, but avenged that defeat in narrow fashion in the state quarterfinals, then held on late against Yuma Kofa in the semifinals before a 1-0 victory against Hamilton gave Brophy (21-1-2) its third state title and second in four years.
Superb Saints: Thanks to Ethan Taplin’s hat trick and some preseason persuasions, Notre Dame won its first state title in school history with a 4-1 victory against Verrado to cap a 20-1 season in 4A-II. Taplin persuaded a couple classmates who were only going to play club soccer, to join the high school fray. The Saints steamrolled most of the rest of the way under first-year coach Kenny Hack. With Taplin (36 goals) up front to go with goalkeeper Tommy Hebert and midfielder Owen Steinwell, the Saints avenged last year’s early tournament exit.
Perry makes a move: Another school in the Chandler district made plenty of noise this season. Perry won the East Valley Region championship and reached the 5A-II state semifinals, both feats occurred for the first time in the school’s brief history. Anthony Boyd was named the region player of the year and region coach of the year Jim Vanney relied on a senior-dominated roster to earn a No. 5 seed. The Pumas knocked off Tucson Ironwood Ridge with a game-tying goal in the final 30 seconds of regulation and another to win in overtime. Rincon was dispatched in the quarterfinals, but a furious comeback from a 3-0 deficit fell short against Cinderella-story Phoenix Barry Goldwater in the semifinals.
Change is good? Citing a need to reduce finances and manpower, plus a desire to create a more “tournament-style” atmosphere to help sagging attendance in early rounds, all state tournament matches were held at neutral site locations such as Red Mountain Park and Reach 11 Sports Complex. While some enjoyed being able to watch multiple games at the same time, others were vociferous in their dislike of losing home field advantage for the first and second rounds, rendering power points virtually meaningless and not saving schools themselves any travel costs. A late snafu resulted in Reach 11 admission being free while Red Mountain Park visitors were charged to enter. Schools such as Mountain Pointe and Westwood were bothered that its “neutral” matches in Yuma and Tucson were held less than 10 miles from their opponents’ school.
All-Tribune Boys Soccer Second Team
Player School Pos. Yr. Comment
Danny Arubla Hamilton F Sr. Led Huskies balanced attack with 23 goals, 8 assists
Thor Kellin Cactus Shadows F Sr. Played every minute this season; headed to Butler University
Kevin Grigsby Brophy F Sr. Fast, physical forward a perfect compliment to Lennon
Owen Steinwall Notre Dame MF Sr. Overlooked but steady play key in the back/middle for 4A-II champs
Aaron Rivera Mesa MF Sr. 4-year starter and 3-time All-Region player had 19 career goals
Michael Markette Hamilton MF Sr. 8 goals, 16 assists for two-time All-Fiesta standout
Marco Jimenez Gilbert MF Sr. 10 goals, 12 assists and dynamic presence in middle for Tigers
Ross Talbert Chaparral D Sr. Backbone of top defenses in state for 5A-II semifinalists
Steven Sutherland Hamilton D Sr. 8 goals, 6 assists in loaded backline
Ryan Leach Mountain Pointe D Sr. Sweeper drew rave reviews from opposing coaches
Lolo Fuentes Tempe D Sr. Easy Sky Region Player of the Year patrolled half the field
Devin Foy Mesquite GK Sr. Two-time All-Region keeper had 9 shutouts, went 3-1 in penalty kicks