Special to West Valley Preps
Northwest Christian and Yuma Catholic have steadily built a “holy” rivalry over the last decade.
Whenever they meet implications tend to be significant. Thursday the two powers renewed their rivalry — this time on the soccer field — and the stakes no different.
It was the Shamrocks scripting this chapter, rolling to a 3-0 victory in the 3A semifinal at Williams Field High School in Gilbert and earning a state title appearance.
The Crusaders failed to generate on three first half opportunities and twice as many in the second-half.
“Frustrating because we had a huge senior class that will leave on this sour-note. It’s difficult with only two who play club soccer,” Coach Jason Witt said.
The ‘Rocks had plenty of penetrating chances on a usually solid back-line throughout. Their first goal in the 23rd minute was placed in by Stockton Rush.
In a ten-minute span the No. 9 put it in the deep-freeze with goals by a pair of Gutierrez’s. The first was on a steal and fifty-yard blow-by run for Ernie. The second by his brother Eluterio he deflected it off a shot from Jonah Franco.
Trailing at the break just 1-0 proved to be difficult tonight. The Crusaders couldn’t get much from the Offense other than five hits on target. The deficit expanded on two late counters.
No. 5 seed Northwest Christian (13-4-2) ended their season with their first loss since Jan. 11 to Paradise Honors. That defeat gave them a region runner-up finish.
On a positive note, the JV squad allowed one goal all year and will have huge turnover as they transition to varsity play. That bodes well for the future.
“Absolutely looking forward we are going to be fine. Solid JV year as I mentioned and a good group of junior-high kids. It’ll be hard to replace multi-sport athletes like Caleb (Egherman) and Jacob (Lytle), among the other seniors. I like where we are at,” added Witt.