9/3/2013 6:01:00 AM Yavapai 2, Chandler-Gilbert 1, OT Tweaks continue on Yavapai soccer lineup after team's 3rd win in 5 days
Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier Sophomore attacker Milan Popovic (5) out of Las Vegas battles for a loose ball on Monday in Prescott Valley when Chandler-Gilbert visited for an ACCAC match that went into overtime.
THURSDAY NIGHT AT LINDLEY
This Thursday's Yavapai-Paradise Valley match (6 p.m.) will be Firefighter Appreciation Night. Yavapai College will be accepting donations for the Granite Mountain Hotshots Scholarship Fund for the children and spouses of the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots who perished in the Yarnell Hill fire on June 30. All proceeds from the 50/50 raffle that night will go to the scholarship fund.
PRESCOTT VALLEY - Disrupted by rainouts and oddly re-scheduled games, the Yavapai College soccer team remains a work in progress, using real-time game situations rather than practice to test personnel combinations.
Regardless of the unlucky schedule bounces, the Roughriders improved to 3-0 after beating Chandler-Gilbert 2-1 in overtime on a rare afternoon kickoff on Labor Day Monday in Prescott Valley.
Freshman attacker Ricardo Zacarias out of Las Cruces, N.M., headed a pass from co-captain Matthew Paine into the net to clinch the golden goal with 1:13 left in the 10-minute overtime period. It was Yavapai's third win in five days, and its second straight OT win on the Mountain Valley Park pitch.
"I saw an open gap and I was like 'Matt, play me the ball'," Zacarias said afterward. "He put it in the spot and I had to finish it, make it count in overtime."
After rainouts and postponements wrecked the Roughriders' early schedule, they have gotten their last two home matches in. Monday's matinee started under cloudy skies, but by the second half the sun was shining bright and temperatures were hitting close to 90 degrees before a crowd of about 200 fans, including a Chandler-Gilbert contingent.
"It's been difficult for the players. We're so used to 6 o'clock start times, too," YC head coach Mike Pantalione said of adjusting to a new schedule, almost daily, in the season's early going. "We were very lethargic during the first half. But at the same time, give credit to Chandler-Gilbert, they always play hard. It was no different today."
The same two teams tried to get this game in on the same field back on Aug. 22. Yavapai was leading 2-0 into the second half when the match was called due to rain and lightning. Since the match went shy of the 70 minutes required for an official game, a make-up date had to be re-scheduled and played again from scratch.
On Monday, both teams traded possessions in a scoreless first half that saw the Roughriders hold a dominating 16-2 advantage on shots on goal but have nothing to show for it on the scoreboard.
The second half featured a healthy dose of substitutions off the Yavapai bench, as Pantalione and his staff looked for the right combinations up front. Yabin Cruz and Josiah Pacheco subbed into the attack during one sequence; Milan Popovic and Avery Hardie-Jordan in another. Zacarias, too, was among the changing combinations, subbing into the attack spot for Hardie-Jordan.
"At the moment we're still building as a team," Pacheco said. "We still need to work together and get our timing. There's different spots. Everybody has a little bit of everything. That's what (Mike's) looking for. Some people can come into the game and raise the atmosphere."
Everything clicked by the match's 78th minute.
Forward Mason Buron, another up-top attacker, fed Paine who got the matchup he was looking for and cashed in a goal from the left side to open the scoring.
Just a couple minutes later, Roughrider goalkeeper Bradley Trella made a huge save diving to his right to protect YC's lead.
But the Coyotes answered. Chandler-Gilbert's Cody Schultz poked the ball in from a scrum in the box to knot the match at 1-1 in the 81st minute.
Chandler-Gilbert rebounded in the second half with nine shots on goal. And by the time the teams went to overtime still tied, it was the Coyotes who were quicker to balls and building momentum in the 10-minute sudden death frame. Only a spectacular save from Trella, this time diving to the left upper post and getting one hand on a shot attempt, kept the game going.
The match also had a physical tone with teams whistled for a combined 25 fouls, 17 of which went against the Coyotes.
CG head coach Jonathan Berzins declined comment after the game.
Finally, the sequence was set for Paine to feed Zacarias for the game-winner in the final two minutes.
"We're still trying to get used to our personnel and we're still a long ways away from figuring out what truly is the best combination, both in the attack as well as defense," Pantalione added.
The Roughriders improved to 49-0-0 all-time on their "second" home field at Mountain Valley Park.
Yavapai (3-0) will finally get to open the Ken Lindley Field portion of its home schedule in Prescott this coming Thursday. After one previously washed out exhibition game and one postponed regular season game, Prescott fans will see the Roughriders for the first time when Paradise Valley visits for a 6 p.m. kickoff at Lindley.