West Valley Preps
It will go into the record books as a tie, but the Dysart and Valley Vista boys soccer teams had reason to put in overtime after extra time finished.
The teams play for the Dysart Cup every year since 2015 so they decided beforehand that in the event of a tie, they would stage an unofficial penalty kick shootout to determine which team takes home the cup.
So with the scoreboard turned off and the referees on their way home, the teams set up the spot kicks with Dysart associate coach Jonathan Rea blowing the whistle. Most of the 500-person crowd stayed to watch Valley Vista retain the trophy with a 5-4 win in penalties.
“We discussed a few things. I think it’s fitting, especially how the match went – up 2 and then they fought back. I think that was a fitting way to end it instead of taking (the decision) away from (the kids),” Valley Vista coach Garfield Scott said.
The match goes in the books as a 2-2 tie. Valley Vista is now 2-2-1 on the season while Dysart is 3-1-1.
Scott and Rea helped get this rivalry off the ground. Now it is a schedule highlight for El Mirage and Surprise with a larger-than-typical high school soccer crowd.
“The atmosphere … it felt like a playoff game. They were feeding off that. Even the crowd was into it in a good way,” Dysart coach Jose Partida said.
Before this season, Partida and Rea switched roles. Since Rea arrived in 2014, Partida had been his associate coach.
But Rea also is an assistant coach at Northwest Christian University in Oregon every fall and stepping back a bit gives him more flexibility in travel. Partida has always been the go-to guy for summer and offseason programs.
Dysart pressured the visitors a bit in the first 10 minutes, only to see Valley Vista threaten to blow them out of the water before halftime.
About 18 minutes in, the Monsoon burst through the middle and senior midfielder Jose Benitez finished for a 1-0 lead. Two minutes later, a slip by a Dysart defender set up a 3-on-2 situation for Valley Vista and sophomore defender Angel Balderrama put it away.
“It was a matter of managing the game. The potential is there and this is good experience as far as managing the matches and playing to our strengths,” Scott said.
The Demons regrouped and cut their deficit in half before the half.
A hand ball just outside the area set up a Dysart free kick from a dangerous spot, and junior Jose Sanchez struck a low shot right past the goalkeeper for a 2-1 score.
“We started the game off a bit apprehensive. Sometimes they get this thing about playing a 6A team. And they’ve got some big boys and they’re very technically sound,” Partida said. “Finally we settled down and a goal soothes the nerves.”
In the 51st minute, senior defender Alfredo Vega lofted a shot from midfielder that bounced over the Monsoon keeper’s head an into the goal.
While the sudden 2-2 tie was a shock to the visiting team, the Demons had seen this before.
“Against Estrella Foothills he scored in three seconds because the goalkeeper came out and he did the same thing and it made it in,” Partida said. “Still, (Vega’s goal Wednesday) was a mistake that luckily made its way in. It totally lifted our spirits further.”
Both squads earned some quality chances in the next 60 minutes of regulation and extra time but could not break the deadlock.
Valley Vista spent more time on the attack in extra time, but Dysart had the better, singular chance. Freshman Eric Zavala gained the ball near midfield and sprung Vega deep with a pass, but Vega’s shot rolled across the mouth of the goal.
“They know each other and some of have played club together. That aids it as far as an environment. I think the coaching staff over there is a good coaching staff and they’re emphasizing the right things so that helps,” Scott said.
The friendly nature of this rivalry and mutual respect between the teams shone through in the nature of the play Wednesday.
Both teams gave constant, competitive effort but did so without committing a single foul that resulted in the yellow card.
“It was physical but it wasn’t dirty. Even when there’s fouls, they’re not the kind kids could get hurt on,” Partida said. “That’s the beautiful thing about it. The sportsmanship was there. I’m going to push the limits but I’m not going to get dirty about it.”