Campo Verde nets late goal, denies Chaparral boys soccer state title

A Campo Verde player and a Chaparral player race toward a loose ball during Chaparral’s 1-0 loss to Campo Verde in the 2018 5A state championship. (Independent Newsmedia/Josh Martinez)

Defense reigned strong in the 5A boys soccer state championship, and in the end, Chaparral High School never broke through.

No. 5 Chaparral was unable to make any headway against No. 6 Campo Verde High School, leading to a 1–0 loss Saturday, Feb. 10 at Campo Verde High School in Gilbert.

Both teams came into this match after playing their respective semifinal matchups the day before at the same location.

Campo Verde Head Coach Andrew Guarneri said fatigue became more noticeable from both teams later in the match.

Chaparral Head Coach Jason Speirs agreed and said it affected his team’s play.

“We looked a bit lethargic and tired at points,” he said after the match. “Going into a final after playing last night and coming here, (Campo Verde) had to do the same thing. It’s the same for both teams, but it’s about as good of a finals as you can expect.”

Both coaches expressed their disapproval of having to play back-to-back matches for the semifinals and finals.

A Chaparral soccer player tries to turn toward the goal against the Campo Verde defense during Chaparral’s 1-0 loss to Campo Verde in the 2018 5A state championship. (Independent Newsmedia/Josh Martinez)

Still, Campo Verde forward Blaise Hale had the difference-maker with a header in the 65th minute. Chaparral made a furious late push but was unable to capitalize on it.

Coach Speirs said what made Campo Verde “fantastic” was its speed on the outside of the field, which he said was hard to defend.

On the other side, Coach Guarneri said Chaparral forced his team to play wide because the Firebird defense pushed his players closer to the edge.

Coach Guarneri also had a lot of praise for Chaparral forward Ethen Cohen and the counter he led.

“He was probably the best player on the field tonight,” Coach Guarneri said. “We got the victory but I think he showed that he’s worth his grain of salt and he did a good job. I think he’ll have a successful career.”

Though designated the away team, Campo Verde got to play on its home field in a state final for the second consecutive year.

Coach Speirs said while he’s not trying to take anything away from Campo Verde, he thought it was unfair CVHS got what he perceived as the home field advantage, calling it “ridiculous” numerous times.

“There are (numerous) high schools that have fields around here,” he said. “You can move that game somewhere else and that’s ridiculous the AIA is allowed to do that. It should not be allowed for them to play on their home turf. It’s ridiculous.”

Coach Guarneri said he doesn’t see it as a home field advantage, but rather as a neutral site.

“We have to listen to their crowd right behind us,” he said. “They had just as many fans and they were just as loud as our fans. They play on turf. There’s no advantage. Everybody tries to use that and say ‘oh my gosh, you’re at home.’ We lose more playoff games at home than we do on the road. I don’t think it’s an advantage at all.”

News Services Reporter Josh Martinez can be contacted at jmartinez@newszap.com or at 623-445-2738

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