In an electrifying quarterfinal game that went down to the wire, freshman forward Allison Broderick scored a goal with 3:41 left in the first period of overtime to lift the Xavier College Preparatory Gators 2-1 over the Campo Verde Coyotes.
The game was tight and physical the whole way through.
It was so physical that two Campo Verde players had to leave the game with undisclosed injuries: sophomore forward Kyla Galdos with 19 minutes left in the first period, and sophomore midfielder/forward Maddy Wolf late in overtime.
Going into the game, Galdos was the second leading goal scorer for Campo Verde. Coach Rosie Headley stressed to her team that whoever replaces Galdos has to give massive effort.
"I told them whoever goes in for her has to step up and fulfill her role on the field," said Headley, 26. "I think the girls I put in did just that."
Losing a star player didn't keep Campo Verde from battling.
After trailing 1-0 in the second period from a goal by Xavier's Olivia Chan, Campo Verde senior captain Sebrina Rodriguez scored on a penalty shot that tied the game.
Before the game, Rodriguez talked about how she believes that Campo Verde has always been underestimated, and how they were going to "leave it all on the field."
"We've been an underdog every single year," Rodriguez said. "We're here to show everyone what Campo Verde's all about."
Headley also made note of how her team embraces the role of being the underdog.
"I definitely see us as being seen as the underdog," Headley said. "We've been in this position many times over the past four years. Last year we were the 11th seed, and still made it to the championship game. My girls are used to being in this position, and they enjoy it that way."
Although Xavier was the favorite to win, Gators coach Barbara Chura made it clear that they wouldn't underestimate their opponent heading into the game. Going into overtime, Chura gave her team an inspiring pep talk that emphasized for them to believe in one another.
"I told them to believe in each other, believe in what we do, and stay positive," Chura said."Championship teams come together in pressure moments, and we were able to do that."
* Merida is an Arizona State student taking a sports journalism class.