Arizona Western scored two unanswered second half goals to claim third straight Region I crown.
YUMA, Ariz. ( KYMA, KECY-TV ) - In the program's first season, the Eastern Arizona women's soccer nearly claimed the Region I title. Under the guidance of Head coach Charles Long, the Lady Gila Monsters entered the Region I Championship game with an overall record of 11-4-3 and 9-3-1 in conference play.
Eastern Arizona showed the defending Region I champion, Arizona Western, just how much they had improved since their first and only meeting, a 6 - 0 loss on September 16th at Matador Field.
In Saturday's rematch, the Gila Monsters struck first in the 27th minute and held that lead heading into the second half.
Arizona Western responded and tid the game in the 66th minute on a rebound goal by Loegan Alia.
The Lady Matadors then took the lead in the 79th minute, as ACCAC player of the year, Ashly Martinez, broke through through the Eastern Arizona backline and beat the keeper to the back post.
Arizona Western would hold off the Eastern Arizona flurry in the final minute and hold on to a 2-1 victory. The win propelled the Lady Matadors to their third straight Region I title.
"In the second half we did everything," Ashly Martinez said. "This is our home, these are our people, these are our fans, so, we won, that's the only thing that matters."
We're going to win, we're going to nationalsAshly Martinez after AWC's 2-1 come from behind win in the Region I Championship game on Saturday night
Interim head coach Victor Verdugo shared his thoughts on the Lady Matador's reciliancy.
"I thought the response from the girls was exceptional," Verdugo said. "We talked about that. In a final match there could be adversity but we trained all week to face it. The girls reacted to a couple of the changes we made, I thought their effort in the second half was exceptional."
The Lady Matadors will head to Salt Lake City, Utah to take on Salt Lake in the West District Championship game on Saturday, November 4th, at 2:00 p.m.