Photo by Ken Sain.
While the Chino Valley High School boys soccer team is a powerhouse, winning eight state championships including four straight, the girls team has not had that level of success.
Before last season the Cougars had not had a winning season since 2008. In fact, CVHS had won only 15 games total between 2009 and 2013, an average of three games a year.
Those days are gone.
Chino Valley capped its second straight winning season by going undefeated and winning the program’s first state championship, defeating Round Valley 1-0 in the Class 2A title game on Saturday at Campo Verde High School in Gilbert.
Senior Katie Farnsworth took a pass about 28 yards in front of the Round Valley goal, turned and shot. Somehow it found its way through a crowd and landed in the back of the net for the game’s only goal. It came with 9 minutes and 54 seconds remaining in the first half.
“There were a bunch of defenders on me, they were a really aggressive defense, and I just sort of pushed it out with my right foot,” Farnsworth said. “I thought the goalie was going to get it for sure, but I hit it hard enough that I guess it went right underneath her.”
Round Valley (18-5-2) put pressure on Chino Valley (20-0-1) in the second half, but the Cougars’ defense was up to the challenge.
“At first it was hard because we weren’t communicating, we were nervous and tense, it’s our first time here,” said senior sweeper Lizbeth Gomez. “It the second half we started putting pieces together and shutting them down.”
Chino Valley coach Allen Foster said it was obvious the being on the big stage for the first time impacted his team.
“It wasn’t our best effort of the season by no means,” he said. “A lot of it was nerves, they came out amped up. When we get nervous we try to outrun teams, and we’re a really fast team, but teams know that and they practice for it.”
This may have been Chino Valley’s first girls soccer title, but it is likely the Cougars will be contenders for years. The Cougars have seven freshmen on the varsity roster, and three of them were starters in the state soccer title game.
“We got a really good crop coming [at Heritage Middle School], and the seventh graders look to be even tougher,” Foster said. “It’s going to be a dynasty, I really think so.”