Skinner, Rios lead Lady Bulldogs into Quarterfinals

Ryleigh Skinner(left) warms up against Jaylynn Rios before their play in game against Valley Christian last season. (Photo by Lee Patterson)

FOUNTAIN HILLS — The Safford Lady Bulldogs were the higher seed on paper but don’t tell them that matters. They dominated in a 4-1 over #6 Fountain Hills in the opening round of the 3A State Tournament.

Amber Hart started the scoring midway through the first half with a direct kick to give the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead that they would carry into halftime.

Safford’s defense was nearly perfect all night long and the Lady Falcons had trouble getting any good looks on goal. With 15 minutes remaining in the game Ryleigh Skinner added a goal from the left side to put Safford up 2-0.

Fountain Hills answered with their only goal minutes later on a corner kick to make it 2-1 but Safford answered on the very next possession as Tatym Hawkins punched it into the net for a 3-1. Skinner would add the icing on the cake with her second goal with four minutes left to solidify the 4-1 win.

Safford goalkeeper Jaylynn Rios was solid between the pipes as she stopped 12 shots on the night.

Safford will travel to #3 Gilbert Christian on Saturday, February 15th, for a 2pm start. The Lady Knights beat Scottsdale Prep 4-1.