Phantoms nearing end of season

Varsity teams must win next four games for a berth in the State Finals

The Phantoms varsity soccer team was dealt two losses last weekend, against Chino Valley and Camp Verde.

The team traveled to Chino Valley on Friday, where they lost 4-1. Justin Kremer scored the first goal for the Phantoms at the 25th minute, with an assist from David Robinson.

They held the lead until just a minute before the end of the half, when Chino Valley evened up the score.

In the second half, Chino scored at the 42nd, 49th and 65th minutes.

At Camp Verde on Saturday, the final score was 4-1, with David Robinson scoring the lone Phantoms goal in the 62nd minute, unassisted. Camp Verde scored in the first, 45th, 54th and 75th minutes.

Head Coach Ken Hunter said that Jackie Wren had two outstanding games and was the weekend's best player.

The Phantoms must now win their last four games of the regular season to make it to the state playoffs.

"Every game is a playoff game at this point," Coach Hunter said. "If we lose one game, we're not going (to state)."

The Phantoms travel to Northland Prep on Friday and Verde Valley on Saturday. They return home the weekend after, playing Ash Fork on Friday, Oct. 21, and Northland Prep on Saturday, Oct. 22.

The Phantoms have struggled this year against teams with deeper benches and more seasoned players.

"We play very well in the first half and take the lead," said Hunter. "We've done that an awful lot this year and run out of gas in the second half. The other teams have a lot more subs than we do and they can rest their players."

The Phantoms' opponents also have a less grueling schedule, with a game midweek and one on the weekend while Grand Canyon's team plays on two consecutive days. The strain has had an effect.

"We've had kids playing hurt all year with things like nagging ankles and knees," said Coach Hunter. " It makes it tough on them when they have to go out and play the whole game."

He said that the team has also relied on younger players like Cruz Caballero and Daniel Trenchard, both freshmen.

"They've been there since the first game of the season and they've played just about every minute of every game, which is almost unheard of for freshmen," Coach Hunter said.

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