GCNP — The Grand Canyon High School soccer team blasted Oak Creek Ranch, 10-2 Friday but then lost a key game back in the region Saturday, 4-3, to Pinon.
The Phantoms were hoping to stay alive in the playoff chase with a win over Pinon but with the setback to the Eagles, the Phantoms would need major help and win most of their remaining games to have a chance.
“We were a much better team,” Grand Canyon coach Ken Olsen said. “We outplayed Pinon totally ... they got three goals off deflections.”
Grand Canyon led 2-0 early in the game on goals by Ryan Maloney and John Hender. Pinon came back to tie the game, 2-2, by halftime.
In third quarter, Hender added another goal but Pinon got the victory.
Olsen said he found out the region will be taking only the top three teams for the playoffs this season. In the past, four teams had advanced to state.
Grand Canyon blasted Oak Creek Ranch out of Sedona on the home field Friday afternoon by eight goals.
Hender scored in the opening seconds, seemingly running at half speed. Mitchell Walker thought he had a goal a few minutes later off a corner kick, but the official disallowed it saying he could jump into an opposing player.
Hender and Maloney then hooked up for two picture-perfect goals. In both instances, Hender had great passes which were headed into the goal by Maloney.
Hender scored after a corner kick to make it 4-0. Walker scored a short time later for a 5-0 lead.
Oak Creek came back with back-to-back goals to cut the lead to 5-2 but by the end of the first half, the Phantoms had scored two more themselves. Carlos Padilla scored on a pass from Walker and Hender got his third goal in traffic with seconds remaining.
In the second half, Walker sent a screamer into the net in the opening seconds for an 8-2 lead. Kristin Olsen and Adam Isbell also found the net to account for the final score.
Grand Canyon (1-5 in region, 4-8 overall) plays in the Old Pueblo Classic in Tucson Friday and Saturday.
In junior-varsity action, Pinon defeated Grand Canyon, 5-4.