Three Gila Valley teams qualify for the Soccer State Tournament

Bre Arbizo (left in blue) and Trinity Dominquez defend against Coolidge in their frist matchup. Contributed Photo/Stan Bonifacio

The 2022/2023 AIA State Soccer Tournament gets underway on February 7th for the boys and February 7th for the girls and the Gila Valley will be represented in each tournament. The Thatcher boys and girls and the Safford girls have qualified for the tournament.

The Safford girls capped off an undefeated regular season with the as the 3A Southeast Region Champions and the #2 overall seed in the 3A tournament. They will host #15 Coolidge on February 8th at 6pm. The Bulldogs defeated Coolidge 6-1 in their only regular season meeting in December.

The Bulldogs’ leading goal scorers this season are both underclassmen. Freshman Trinity Dominguez has scored 19 goals and sophomore Bre Arbizo has netted 14.

Junior goalkeeper Emilee Brown has been a wall all season long as well. She has saved 48 of the 51 shots on goal she has seen this season. As a team, Safford only gave up 4 regular season goals and 2 tournament goals the entire season.

The Thatcher girls soccer squad finished 2nd in the 3A Southeast Region and drew the #11 seed after a 3-1 play-in round win on Thursday over Chandler Prep. The Eagles will travel to #6 Sabino on February 8th at 6pm. Thatcher lost at Sabino in December 2-1 in their only meeting this season.

Sophomore Adysen Smith leads the Eagles in scoring this year. She has scored 21 of the teams 54 goals this season. In the net, sophomore, Kayla Turley, has stopped 48 of 60 shots this season.

The long Gila Valley boys team to make the 3A playoffs in the Thatcher Eagles. They will be the #9 seed after a 3-1 play-in round win over Arete Prep on Thursday night. The Eagles will travel to Gilbert Classical on February 7th for a 6pm game. This will be the first meeting between the two teams this season. The Eagles are riding an 8-game winning streak.

Thatcher is lead in scoring by a trio of sophomores. Kody Bingham (16), Jett Howard (16) and Will Chidester (10) account for 42 of the teams 71 goals this season. Junior Gavin Rogers has 78 saves on the season for the Eagles.