Centennial girls soccer applies finishing touch to Ironwood

Centennial’s Ari Jimenez (#3) celebrates with teammate Jayden Anderson (#20) after a goal by Jimenez against Ironwood Monday, Dec. 19, 2016 at Centennial High School in Peoria. (Jacob Stanek/ West Valley Preps )


Richard Smith
West Valley Preps

Centennial and Ironwood had similar amounts of possession in Monday’s girls soccer game.

What the teams did with those chances was vastly different. For most of the night  the Coyotes burned the Eagles on their defensive lapses.

The result? a hat trick for senior striker Ari Jimenez and a 5-1 Centennial rout of its rival.

“When we get some momentum, we can score goals in bunches,” Centennial Coach Steve Ybarra said.

Centennial (5-3-2) jumped out early with some flash. Junior Jayden Anderson executed a flip throw in and Jimenez headed it in.

Eleven minutes in, Jimenez knocked in a 30-yard free kick. Two minutes later, Anderson shredded the defense and finished her run by neatly tucking in her shot to the left corner of the net.

A shell shocked Ironwood (2-5) team had some opportunities but rarely connected with the pass required to set up the shot.

“We have to fix some of our defensive mistakes and we didn’t do anything with them,” Ironwood Coach Michelle Carter said.

Early in the second half the Eagles created a couple of chances, forcing saves by senior goalkeeper Teryl Nathe.

Again, Centennial was quick and decisive in the attack. Anderson lofted an indirect free kick and senior forward Steffanie Misulich for a second assist.

A bit more than a minute later, Anderson completed her busy night by receiving a red card for disputing a call.

“When they want to (Ari and Jayden) an take over games. Jayden, when we work off of her, she is even more dangerous,” Coach Ybarra said.

Ironwood took advantage of the extra man. Junior defender Sara Kearns curled a free kick into the net off Nathe’s hands.

Jimenez completed her three-goal night with a bit less than eight minutes remaining.

Coach Carter sees her team play well in spurts, but a lack of consistency has made the team a punching bag for some playoff-caliber 5A squads.

In less than a week Liberty, Chaparral and Centennial have outscores the Eagles a combined 18-3.

“I think we have the talent. We just need to learn to put it together. Over the break we need to make some changes and see if we can improve,” Coach Carter said.

Following a non-region season full of challenges and comebacks, the Coyotes have a winter break tournament before plunging into the heart of its schedule.

Centennial begins with home games against top Northwest Region contenders Liberty and Willow Canyon Jan. 11 and 13 respectively.

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