The Mesa girls soccer team treated itself to an early holiday gift Saturday afternoon by winning the school's first Mesa Jackrabbit Invitational.
The lady Jackrabbits held off Phoenix North Canyon, 2-1, for the championship. It completed a clean sweep for Mesa, as the boys also won the championship earlier in the day.
The girls played two games in six hours Saturday as they knocked off top-seed Prescott in the semifinal in a shootout. It was tied at one all after regulation and they won 7-6 on penalty kicks. North Canyon also advanced by beating Skyline in penalty kicks.
It was also the second consecutive year Mesa faced North Canyon in the championship match, which Mesa coach Andy Clarke called "a little pay back from last year. We are making steps in the right direction with a very young team with only two senior starters."
One of those seniors is forward Aubrey Blau, who set the tone scoring a goal just 36 seconds into the match on a breakaway.
"That was very nice to score quick and exciting," Blau said. "I just took it down on the defense and found the chance go for the score and it worked. This championship gives us the self-confidence to know we can play with some of the better teams in the difficult schedule we face."
With 6:50 left in the first half, Logan Fischer took a corner kick and drilled it down the middle of the net for some more breathing room and a 2-0 cushion.
Mesa didn't score again on the Rattlers, but at the 10:45 mark of the second half, North Canyon got on the scoreboard when Ruby Sotelo sneaked a shot by the Jackrabbits goal-keeper Jaycie Jarvis. That cut the lead to 2-1 and put the pressure back on Mesa to keep its lead.
With 1:41 left Blau almost put the game away but her shot hit off the top of the post. With 22 seconds left, the Rattlers had a direct kick and a chance to force overtime. Instead of firing away the kick, they tapped it past Mesa defenders but could not get a shot on goal.
Jarvis had eight solid saves and had two straight PK stops to hold off Prescott.
"She (Jarvis) has been a pleasant surprise, only had played JV and is playing well at the varsity level," Clarke said. "We started off strong but then laid off a little and became to complacent. A little fatigue for both teams made it interesting. But this is a nice win for us and the program."