Two goals in the opening and closing seconds of the second 10-minute overtime period saw the Mingus Union High School girls soccer team lose 3-1 to visiting Bradshaw Mountain High School on Tuesday, Jan. 16.
The Marauders [2-8-1, 1-4 Grand Canyon Region], then took on Coconino High School on senior day, Thursday, Jan. 18, falling 2-1.
“As I said before, we’re a young team so we’re building, we’re learning each other and this was a year that kind of from the beginning when we set our team goals was to build and grow and come back next year,” Marauders head coach Joe Rongo said. “It looks like that’s the way its going to pan out.”
Five seniors played for the final time at Bright Field against Coconino [5-3-2, 2-3-1]: Taylor Ervin, Nicole Spitzke, Isabella Dalu, Esmeralda Pina Gonzalez and Tianna Alvarado.
Against No. 10-ranked Bradshaw Mountain [7-3-1, 3-1-1], the Marauders trailed for most of the game before forcing overtime with a game-tying 70th minute goal by sophomore midfielder Felicia Bueno. They struggled to create offense throughout most of the game.
Mingus’ young squad was frustrated by short possessions and a lot of defending. Many of Mingus’ starters and first substitutes off the bench are underclassmen. The most veteran players are in the defense, featuring captain and right back Spitzke, junior captain and centerback Ginessa Altamirano and junior left back Kaitlyn Card.
“We have more of a defensive team,” Spitzke said. “We went back to a back four, and so that makes us have a little less offense.”
Bradshaw Mountain’s best chances came when it sent long balls up field, but its first goal came off of a quick turnover in the Marauders’ defensive half. After the turnover, the ball was whipped into the 18-yard box where Mingus sophomore goalkeeper Zoey Arwine stopped the initial shot, but the rebound made its way into the net.
Mingus’ best chances came on long-distance efforts; its midfielders and forwards could not combine to break through the Bears defense.
“First touch probably, and then even confidence,” Rongo said. “[Bradshaw Mountain] came in ranked No.  in the state, we came in ranked 28 so it was probably confidence was a piece of it too.”
Bueno’s goal came on the Marauders’ best move of the afternoon. Sophomore midfielder Marli Urueta sent the ball down the left side, two passes to the middle drew the Bears defense out, leaving a streaking Bueno down the middle to rifle the ball in.
In the second overtime, Arwine stopped a shot, and the clearance failed to leave the penalty box. Bears sophomore striker Alexis Clynes put the rebound in an empty net. With 11 seconds left, Bears senior striker Serena Pelaez scored on a counterattack.
The Marauders finish their season at No. 2 Flagstaff High School, one of the contenders for the Conference 4A state title, at 3 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 23.