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Posted Oct 22, 2012, 10:04 am
Pima Community College women's soccer team played a spirited and often chippy match against of Scottsdale College on Saturday afternoon. The Aztecs fought to a draw in the 110 minute match against the nationally ranked Artichokes, 1-1.
Even in its opening moments, the match was end to end, with Kathy Fisher having several looks at goal. Although both Cami Barbera and Ivonne Herrera were playing up front, the lack of service they got became the story of the first half.
Despite everything seeming to be run through on Fisher and the right side, the ball fell to midfielder Ashley Cardenas. She rocketed it past Scottsdale's keeper to put Pima up by one goal.
As the half wore on, both Scottsdale and Pima had their chances, with Cardenas and Robyn Tolin coming into the offense more often. Scottsdale's chances were stopped by Erika Heredia's goal-mouth heroics.
Pima had a chance to bring it to two in the closing moments of the first half. In one of many moments that frustrated Scottsdale players, Pima was awarded a free kick just feet outside of the penalty area. Cardenas took the chance but it was too high.
Coach Kendra Veliz shook up the formation at halftime. Cardenas started the half as a de facto forward, with Herrera playing in more of a withdrawn position. Rather than the team trying to bunker to hold the one goal lead, it looked like the strategy was to keep Scottsdale from scoring by keeping the ball in their half.
Still, Scottsdale had their chances, but Heredia smothered shot after shot. At the same time, Scottsdale's players and fans increasingly showed their frustration at the referee.
It couldn't be kept up forever, and in the 77th minute Scottsdale slipped one past Heredia.
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A few minutes later, Heredia and a Scottsdale forward collided going for the ball. The Scottsdale player was down for several minutes while players and fans demanded Heredia get a red card. Heredia got away with a caution, and Scottsdale couldn't make anything about the free kick they were awarded.
The first 90 minutes ended with a tie, and neither team could make a winner in the ensuing 20 minutes of extra time.
Pima will host Chandler-Gilbert in the first playoff game Monday at 2:30 p.m. at Aztec Field. Oddly enough, the men also open their playoff campaign against Chandler-Gilbert.
Woman of the match
Soccer media folks like to name a "player of the match" after a game. It would likely be Ashley Cardenas for her goal, or possibly Kathy Fisher for her scrappy attacking play that resulted in so many shots. If a goalkeeper is recognized, it is usually one that secures a shutout.
Count Kendra Veliz as someone who, despite the goal, would make the case for goalkeeper Erika Heredia. Veliz called her performance "outstanding."
"She had 13 saves. She understands the game and manages it better than anyone I've seen at this level."
You can add those 13 goals to the 63 she has already been credited for this season, the second most in the region. The number of saves she has is even more impressive since she split her time in some matches playing as a midfielder.
And, by the way, the two assists that she earned as a midfielder means she has earned more assists than any goalkeeper in the region.