On Saturday, June 25, the Grand Canyon U19 AYSO soccer team went to 3-0 on the season by defeating their Flagstaff opponent 4-1. It was the first road game of the season for the Canyon team.
Grand Canyon broke out on top early with a goal by Miles Hunter in the third minute. Kevin Beckerleg assisted on the goal. The two teams battled evenly for the remainder of the first half with no more goals scored.
In the second half the Canyon took control of the game. The ball possession and passing game was starting to wear down the Flagstaff team but Flagstaff battled hard and was able to tie the score at 1-1 on a penalty kick in the 59th minute. Canyon goalkeeper Cuco Jaime stopped the initial penalty shot and the first rebound but could not get to the second rebound. Grand Canyon responded with a goal by Cruz Caballero four minutes later to regain the lead. Caballero scored when Oscar Badillo had a shot blocked by a defender. Caballero took the deflection and put it into the back of the net. Miles Hunter scored his second goal of the game in the 75th minute. Hunter took a pass from Omar Badillo and launched a shot from about 30 yards out that curved inside the far post. Five minutes later in the 80th minute, Hunter completed the hat trick when he turned a pass from Christopher Streit into his third goal of the day.
Head coach Ken Hunter praised his team.
"I'm really proud of the way the team is playing," he said. "They are communicating, working together and giving 100 percent effort 100 percent of the time. Cuco had an excellent game in goal with some big saves in key situations. The girls, Jackie and Jessie Wren, Maria Caballero, Lizzy Tobin and Chloe Phillips continue to impress. They play hard and their skills and tactical knowledge are constantly improving. They give up a lot to the boys size-wise but make up for it with their tenacity."
The Canyon team opened the season at home on June 4 with a 6-1 victory. Grand Canyon jumped out to 4-0 half time lead with goals by Oscar Badillo assisted by Christopher Streit in the 15th minute, Miles Hunter also assisted by Streit in the 27th minute, Omar Badillo assisted by Cuco Jaime in the 30th minute, and Cuco Jaime assisted by Miles Hunter in the 35th minute.
In the second half the Flagstaff team got on the board with a goal in the 65th minute to make the score 4-1. Jackie Wren made it 5-1 with a goal in the 75th minute assisted by Miles Hunter. Oscar Badillo added an unassisted goal in stoppage time.
The Canyon team notched their second victory of the season at home on June 11 in an exciting match up. The final score was 6-5.
Grand Canyon took a 1-0 lead in the seventh minute on an Omar Badillo goal. Eddie Tobin assisted on the score. In the 14th minute the Flagstaff team tied the score 1-1. The Canyon regained the lead in the 36th minute when Oscar Badillo scored assisted by his brother Omar. One minute later Flagstaff again scored to knot the score at 2. Two minutes later in the 39th minute, Miles Hunter turned an Oscar Badillo pass into a 3-2 Canyon lead. Jeff Towers then scored twice in less than two minutes to give the Grand Canyon a 5-2 half time lead Towers' first goal came in the 43rd minute with an assist from Oscar Badillo. In the 44th minute Tobin picked up his second assist of the game on Towers' second goal.
In the second half the Flagstaff team scored three unanswered goals -- one in the 54th minute on a penalty kick, one in the 68th minute, and one in the 79th minute to tie the score at 5-5. Then in the 88th minute, with less than two minutes to play, Omar Badillo took a pass from his brother Oscar and turned it into the game winning goal.
With last weekend off for the July 4 holiday, Grand Canyon plays a double header this Saturday. Game times are 10:15 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. in Flagstaff at Foxglen Park.